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Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
 

Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

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Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

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    Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia Companion Planting: The Role of Networks in Sustaining Organized Garden Projects - Murdoch University, Perth, Australia Document Transcript

    • Companion Planting: the role of networks in sustaining organised garden projects and achieving positive social outcomes Jessica Wilson Murdoch University, PerthThis thesis is submitted for the degree of Masters of Arts in Ecologically Sustainable Development at Murdoch University 2011
    • DECLARATIONI declare that this dissertation is my own account of my research. It contains as its maincontent work which has not previously been submitted for a degree at any other tertiaryinstitution...............................Jessica WilsonStudent Number: 30506825 ii
    • ABSTRACTFrom the late nineteenth century community gardens, or organised garden projects (OGPs),have been used by governments as mechanisms for providing economic and social reliefduring times of economic downturn. Since the 1960s increasing concern for the environmentand social justice has seen networks of residents establish these gardens at grassroots levels.Following on from Stocker and Barnett (1998), the notion that these gardens cansimultaneously create positive economic, ecological and social outcomes for gardenparticipants and the wider community positions them as “agents of change” for sustainability.This study focuses on garden participation and the potential outcomes for individuals andneighbourhoods through a specific analysis of the social networks that exist betweengardeners and the connections that organised garden projects have with other gardens andorganisations. Building on the work of Bourdieu (1986), Coleman (1990), Putnam (1995) andothers, this study seeks to identify the features of social capital, using social networks as aproxy, that facilitate action, outcomes and gains for those involved in OGPs.Using gardens in greater Hobart, Tasmania as the case study, this study built on White’s(2002) analysis of the key features of social networks, and determined the presence of andoutcomes from social capital in garden networks. Particular attention was paid to howinvolvement in OGPs can ameliorate social and economic disadvantage.This study highlights the potential of organised garden projects in tackling disadvantagealthough it acknowledges this potential is yet to be fully realised. The findings suggest thatwhile both internal and external social networks play a key role in the production of socialcapital in OGPs, several barriers were identified which impacted on garden participation andsociability; including education, the location of the garden and garden accessibility. iii
    • TABLE OF CONTENTSDeclaration............................................................................................................................................. iiAbstract................................................................................................................................................. iiiTable of Contents ................................................................................................................................. ivList of Figures....................................................................................................................................... viList of Tables ....................................................................................................................................... viiAcknowledgements ............................................................................................................................ viiiChapter 1 - Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 1 Aims of the research ........................................................................................................................... 1 Defining community gardens .............................................................................................................. 1 Organised garden projects through history and their links to overcoming disadvantage ................... 2 United States .............................................................................................................................. 3 United Kingdom ......................................................................................................................... 3 Australia..................................................................................................................................... 3 Organised garden projects and their links to sustainable development............................................... 4 Economic outcomes ................................................................................................................... 5 Ecological outcomes .................................................................................................................. 6 Tangible social outcomes........................................................................................................... 6 Intangible social outcomes ........................................................................................................ 7 Interconnected outcomes ........................................................................................................... 8 Research question ............................................................................................................................... 8Chapter 2 – Social Capital.................................................................................................................. 10 Social capital and organised garden projects .................................................................................... 10 Interpreting social capital .................................................................................................................. 11 Measuring social capital.................................................................................................................... 13 Network density........................................................................................................................ 14 Network reachability................................................................................................................ 16 Centralisation of networks ....................................................................................................... 17 Gaps in the current research .............................................................................................................. 18Chapter 3 – Case study area .............................................................................................................. 20 The demography of disadvantage in Tasmania................................................................................. 20 The case study area ........................................................................................................................... 24 City of Hobart .......................................................................................................................... 24 City of Glenorchy ..................................................................................................................... 25 Local government support for organised garden projects in the case study area .............................. 25 Current organised garden project initiatives in the case study area .................................................. 26 iv
    • Glenorchy Family Food Alliance............................................................................................. 26 Feeding the Future................................................................................................................... 26Chapter 4 - Methodology.................................................................................................................... 28 Interviewing ............................................................................................................................. 28 Data analysis ........................................................................................................................... 30 Difficulties and Constraints ..................................................................................................... 30 Ethics ....................................................................................................................................... 30Chapter 5 - Findings ........................................................................................................................... 31 Establishing the gardens.................................................................................................................... 31 The people of the organised garden projects..................................................................................... 31 Economic, ecological and social aspects highlighted in the interviews ............................................ 33 Social capital outcomes ..................................................................................................................... 35 Network density........................................................................................................................ 36 Network reachability................................................................................................................ 46 Network centralisation ............................................................................................................. 48Chapter 6 - Discussion ........................................................................................................................ 54 Grant funding .................................................................................................................................... 54 Garden location and links to sociability ............................................................................................ 55 Social interaction as a motivator for garden participation ................................................................ 56 Trust and reciprocity ......................................................................................................................... 57 Decision-making and the division of roles and responsibilities........................................................ 58 Connections with other OGPs and other organisations..................................................................... 60 Strong and weak ties ......................................................................................................................... 62 Economic outcomes .......................................................................................................................... 63 Education .......................................................................................................................................... 63 Garden accessibility .......................................................................................................................... 64Chapter 7 - Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 67Appendices ........................................................................................................................................... 69References ............................................................................................................................................ 77 v
    • LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1: Map of the case study area ................................................................................................ 23 vi
    • LIST OF TABLESTable 1: Estimated social exclusion risk factors in Tasmania ........................................................ 22Table 2: Indicators of disadvantage in the case study area............................................................. 24Table 3: Profile of the organised garden projects ............................................................................ 32Table 4: Profile of the garden participants ....................................................................................... 33 vii
    • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to firstly extend special thanks to my supervisor Sally Paulin for her support,advice and feedback throughout this journey. She has offered me invaluable guidance fromthe other side of the country in shaping and directing my topic.I would also like to thank the coordinators and participants of Hobart’s community gardenswho agreed to be interviewed for this study and for fighting the good fight in the gardens.Finally and most importantly I extend thanks to my husband Chris (“Dreamboat”) for beingso supportive of this process and for sustaining me with love, hugs and meals. I would alsolike to thank my mum Colleen, for her constant editing, encouragement and advice over thecourse of this degree, but most importantly during this last stage. I must also acknowledgemy unborn child for not only draining all of my energy and muddling my brain over thesepast few months, but also for giving me a kick in the bum (or ribs) when necessary andproviding a constant reminder that at the heart of sustainable development is a deep love andrespect for future generations. “We must build landscapes that heal, connect and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and with the natural world.”Alex Wilson, writer and community activist(quoted in Irvine et al 1999, p35) viii
    • Chapter 1 – IntroductionAims of the researchBarnett and Stocker (1998) argue that community gardens are “agents of change” forsustainability due to the interconnected economic, ecological and social outcomes they createfor participants and communities (p180). Much literature on community gardens focuses onhow participation in community gardening can create positive social outcomes forparticipants, particularly those living in less advantaged areas (Okvat and Zautra 2011; Teiget al 2009; Wakefield et al 2007; Holland 2004). However, little has been written about theimportance of networks that may exist between community gardens and other garden projectsor with community organisations. This study will explore the role that social connections playin sustaining community gardens and will seek to establish links between community gardennetworks and their potential for overcoming social and economic disadvantage in urbancommunities.In the following sections, community gardens will be defined and their place in history willbe discussed. The current forms of these gardens, as tools for social and economic revivalwill be reviewed to highlight their links to sustainability with an emphasis on theinterconnected economic, environmental and social goals and potential outcomes ofparticipation in community gardening. Chapter 2 will discuss social capital theory and itslinks to community gardening and the achievement of outcomes. To test this hypothesis,greater Hobart has been chosen as an example of an area with diverse socioculturaldemographics and a growing number of organised gardening projects. Flexible qualitativeresearch methods chosen for data collection in this study will be discussed in Chapter 4 andthe findings from the interviews with garden coordinators and participants will be presentedin Chapter 5. Finally, the key findings will be discussed in Chapter 6 with a focus on thefeatures of social networks that best provide social and economic outcomes for gardens andtheir communities.Defining community gardensCommunity gardens differ from place to place and across time. Research suggests thatcommunity gardens, while largely heterogeneous, may share some distinct features. 1
    • Ferris et al (2001) conducted a survey of community gardens in San Francisco to differentiatethese projects from private gardens. Their results indicated that public ownership, access anddemocratic control of these areas were emphasised features of the gardens.Community gardens are often established by residents with a desire for a shared gardenspace. The “grassroots” nature of community gardening has been emphasised by Francis(1989) and Glover et al (2005a). Glover et al refer to community gardening as an “organised,grassroots initiative” providing benefits to individuals and the community (2005a, p79).Francis stresses that these gardens are “designed, built or managed by the people who usethem. Gardens are valued by their users as places to work, meet people and socialise as wellas places to grow vegetables” (1989, p54). The potential that these gardens have ascommunity locations for informal socialising, or “third places” (Oldenburg 1999) betweenthe public and private spheres, will be discussed later in this chapter in the context ofsustainability and will be considered in the interview process.The claim that every community garden enjoys a sense of community has been refuted bysome researchers, most notably Pudup (2008) who argues that the use of the term“community garden” is problematic, as it assumes a “community” exists. This argument issupported by Nordahl (2009). “Community” may be present where garden members live inthe same neighbourhood, but not in the sense of social cohesion, cooperation and support. Forthese reasons, Pudup prefers the term “organised garden project” to describe these initiatives.For the purpose of this research project, Pudup’s term will be used to avoid the implication ofa value-laden, sense of community. This is particularly significant considering the study willfocus on the presence of networks and relationships of the people of organised gardenprojects (OGPs).Organised garden projects through history and their links to overcoming disadvantageThis section will briefly explore the evolution of OGPs in the United States, the UnitedKingdom and Australia emphasising how these projects have been used in times of economichardship to overcome social and economic disadvantage by providing a cheap source oflocally grown produce. 2
    • United StatesThe United States has a long association with OGPs. Schmelzkopf (1995) argues thatparticipation in OGPs, supported by government subsidies, has been common during times ofeconomic crisis since the late nineteenth century, encouraging large-scale food production inurban areas with clear economic goals. Gardens were established with government fundingduring the two World Wars and the Great Depression (Lawson 2004). The “Victory Gardens”of World War II, at their most productive, were responsible for 42% of the United States’vegetable production, at a value of US$1 billion (Lawson 2004, p162).In the post-War era, efforts in and support for OGPs subsided, but underwent a renaissance inthe 1970s, initiated at a grassroots level by residents and neighbourhoods, with somegovernment assistance (Lawson 2004). This interest has continued to the present day where adiversity of OGPs can be found across the country, both in more and less advantaged areas;with varying levels of external financial assistance (Lawson 2004).United KingdomOrganised garden projects (allotment gardening) have also played a significant role in theUnited Kingdom since the 18th century, during times of economic downturn and in the twoWorld Wars (Herzfeld 2008; Perez-Vazquez et al 2008). With concerns over self-sufficiencyin the 1960s, OGPs rose in popularity at a grassroots level in the United Kingdom and hascontinued to do so (Perez-Vazquez et al 2008).AustraliaAustralia has a similar history of OGP involvement although on a smaller scale. Governmentsupport for OGPs occurred during World War II and interest at a grassroots level increasedfrom 1970s onwards, in “a decade characterised by increasing concern over environmentalconditions, greater leisure time and changing recreational activities” (Australian City Farmsand Community Gardens Network 2002).Presently, a diverse range of community garden projects exist around Australia ranging fromsmall community gardens on public and leased land, with either individual or communalbeds, to larger projects incorporating social enterprises (Grayson and Campbell 2011). Foodgardens in schools have also become popular, particularly with the availability of funding forthese initiatives. 3
    • As discussed, organised garden projects (OGPs) have evolved in intent and purpose since thelatter half of the nineteenth century. Where they originated in urban areas on a large scaleresulting from government incentives in tough economic times, OGPs today can be the resultof a group of dedicated residents with an idea and ambition for transforming vacant orunderutilised land. The reasons for establishing the gardens may be economic, ecological orsocial, or a combination of all three. OGPs therefore have strong ties with the interconnectedgoals and tenets of sustainability.Organised garden projects and their links to sustainable developmentOGPs are considered “change agents” for sustainability due to their economic, ecological andsocial aims and potential outcomes (Stocker and Barnett 1998, p180). The term “sustainabledevelopment” will briefly be examined before its links to OGPs are discussed.In 1983, The United Nations established the World Commission on Environment andDevelopment (WCED) and commissioned a report on the interconnected issues of theenvironment and development. The Bruntland Report was released in 1987 and while thedefinition of sustainable development was and continues to be contentious, it is defined in theBruntland Report as: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987)Local Agenda 21 (LA21) is an outcome of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment andDevelopment and is a framework for “implementing sustainable development at the locallevel…[it] comprises systems and process to integrate environmental, economic and socialdevelopment.” (Commonwealth of Australia 1999, p7). Local Agenda 21 initiatives are also atool for local governments for building awareness and engendering community involvementand participation in local planning and other issues (Commonwealth of Australia 1999).Holland (2004) argues that LA21 “emphasises self-help, self-development and communityinvolvement” (p287). It is easy to see how OGPs, as participatory grassroots initiatives, havethe potential to fulfil the requirements of LA21 by creating sustainable solutions to localproblems, where community concerns surrounding issues such as climate change, peak oil, 4
    • and social and economic disadvantage are present. Where such concerns are not present, itstands to reason that challenges exist for local governments to engage with residents andbuild awareness of the potential benefits of OGP participation.Research supports the sustainable development goals and outcomes of OGP involvement.Barnett and Stocker’s (1998) research on King William Park in Fremantle claims that thedevelopment of the garden educated participants about the importance of communitycontributions to place-making, collaboration with government and LA21 planning. Thisresulted in an increased community awareness of the need for sustainability planning througha LA21 Plan for Fremantle, which has since taken place (1998, p188).Similarly, Holland (2004) assessed the aims of existing OGPs in the United Kingdom andfound that these projects were examples of sustainability in action. He cites the examples ofcity farms, where social, environmental and economic benefits were apparent to participants(Holland 2004, p302-303). In their research, Ferris et al (2001) found a positive link betweenurban green spaces, such as OGPs, and the implementation of LA21 goals and sustainabilitypolicies.This research will therefore examine the various ways in which OGPs contribute tosustainability and LA21 goals. A brief overview of these connections follows which will beraised during the interview process and later discussed in Chapter 6.Economic outcomesAs previously indicated, OGPs had their roots during periods of economic downturn, as amechanism to provide employment and produce to less advantaged sections of thecommunity. Where economic benefits were once the sole aim of garden establishment, thereare many reasons for establishing OGPs.The economic outcomes from participating in OGPs are diverse. Kearney (2009) cites severaleconomic benefits including a reduction in the cost of living through the provision of a cheapsource of produce and the potential for retail ventures, thus creating employment and incomefor participants. Hancock (2001) supports this view and cites the example of gardenparticipants in New York growing herbs to sell to local restaurants, creating a source ofincome. OGPs can also be sites for participants to access skills and training; as well as 5
    • offering opportunities for innovation and developing new knowledge. Hanna and Oh (2000)argue that while these gardens have other functions, because they yield produce, which inturn have monetary values and can be sold or eaten by participants, there is a direct link toimproving the economic situation of garden participants.However, the financial potential of OGPs may be less developed than both ecological andsocial benefits. Holland (2004) surveyed garden projects in the United Kingdom and foundthat while there was economic potential, many of the gardens surveyed had little economicpurpose.Ecological outcomesMany OGPs are set up on under-utilised lands and the immediate ecological benefits aretherefore clear, in terms of increasing productive green spaces and some cases, biodiversitycorridors. However, there are other benefits to the environment.Harris (2008), Kearney (2009) and Hancock (2001) all argue that OGPs have the potential toreduce negative environmental impacts through the provision of a local source of food, thusnegating transport and production costs associated with mass-produced food. Waste is furtherreduced if the garden has a composting system, or if rainwater is harvested and used. Kearney(2009) also claims that OGPs can be ecologically restorative, by providing a habitat forinsects and birds and a green space in urban areas contributing to the health of the city. Thiscan, in turn, lead to a series of beneficial social outcomes.Tangible social outcomesThe potential social benefits from participation in OGPs have been highlighted by theoristsundertaking research in this area. Indeed, according to Holland (2004), in cases where foodproduction has been the key objective of establishing a garden, “what is grown is secondaryto what else is achieved” and other goals, such as social connections between gardeners, aresignificant (p303). Glover goes further by claiming that “community gardens are less aboutgardening than they are about community” (2004 p143).The possible social benefits from OGPs participation are diverse and tangible, such asimproved nutrition and the promotion of an active lifestyle through physical participation ingardening. 6
    • School gardens are a growing phenomenon in Australia and research by Somerset et al(2005), conducted via a survey of sample schools in Queensland, indicates that improvednutrition among students was a consequence of having a food garden in schools.Similarly, Wakefield et al (2007) studied active community gardens in South East Torontoand concluded that participants identified many social benefits from gardening, includingbetter access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity and improved mentalhealth. This finding is supported by Hancock (2001) who identifies improved nutrition as apotential benefit of garden participation, along with the potential for inter-generationallearning and education about gardening, the environment and nutrition.Intangible social outcomesOther potential outcomes of OGPs, such as benefits from improved relationships andconnections to residents and the broader community, are less tangible and more difficult tomeasure. Intangible outcomes from social capital are a focus of this research and will bediscussed in greater detail in Chapter 2. This research project will focus on the networks thatexist within and between garden projects, as well as the networks that exist between OGPsand other organisations – for example, other community or not-for-profit organisations, aswell as local and state governments and businesses.Relationships and networks form the foundation of OGPs, as grassroots initiatives existingwithin neighbourhoods. Social networks play a strong role both in the initial formation ofthese gardens, but also in an ongoing basis, particularly because many of these projects arevolunteer-based, often operating with no paid staff (Glover et al 2005b). Interaction andrelationships between gardeners are therefore vital to the survival of the garden.Further, OGPs have the potential to be “third places” for their neighbourhoods, providing aninformal setting in which residents, often as strangers to each other, can meet and converse(Oldenburg 1999). Third places are defined by Oldenburg (1999) in their opposition to firstplaces (the private sphere - the home) and second places (the public sphere – the workplace).He argues that as informal meetings places, third places, such as cafes, bookstores and bars,have the potential to create: 7
    • “an environment in which everybody knows just about everybody. In most cases, it cannot be said that everyone, or even a majority, will like everybody else. It, however, important, to know everyone, to know how they variously add to and subtract from the general welfare, to know what they can contribute in the face of various problems or crises, and to learn to be at ease with everyone in the neighbourhood irrespective of how one feels about them.” (Oldenburg 1999, p xvii-xviii)Social interaction is a both an attraction of and an outcome from garden participation. Aspreviously stated, even when social outcomes are not the stated aim of the garden or ofparticipation in it, social benefits have been highlighted as significant for garden participants(Glover 2004, Holland 2004). OGPs therefore provide a setting for positive social capital,although it should not be assumed that this will be a standard result (Glover 2005b; Bourdieu,1986).Interconnected outcomesThe preceding discussion has highlighted some of the potential outcomes from OGPparticipation. In reality, these projects can simultaneously produce economic, ecological andsocial benefits, strengthening them as exemplars of sustainability. Holland (2004) argues thatOGPs have a “multiplicity of purposes” and when these ecological, social and economicobjectives and benefits are linked, it leads to “greater recognition of sustainability in action”(p303).Holland (2004), for example, describes an OGP tackling disadvantage in Santa Cruz,California. This garden was established to assist homeless people and has provided them withaccess to produce and employment and has connected participants to the wider community,thereby producing social and economic outcomes. In other cases, it is easy to see how gardencan stimulate simultaneous ecological, economic and social outcomes for garden participants.Research questionThe questions underlying the research in this thesis are based on discovering the links, if any,between the outcomes from relationships and networks established in the OGP setting andpossible solutions to economic disadvantage. Where organised garden projects havepreviously been a government mechanism for achieving economic outcomes, the role of these 8
    • gardens will again be considered in the context of concerns about increased economicdisadvantage and social exclusion. In order to explore these questions, a series of interviewswere carried out with OGP coordinators and participants to ascertain the importance of thesesocial connections..Chapter 2 sets out social capital theory and addresses its relevance to OGPs and therelationships within them. Chapter 3 discusses the diverse demographics of the case studyarea and the findings from the interviews are presented in Chapter 5 and are analysed anddiscussed in Chapter 6. 9
    • Chapter 2 – Social capitalSocial capital and organised garden projectsThe aim of this chapter is to provide an understanding of how social interaction in the gardensetting can result in positive social capital outcomes. At the outset, it is plausible to considerthat OGPs provide opportunities for local residents to work together to solve problems ofmutual concern, to achieve garden aims and to engage, at a localised level, with governmentand public institutions (Glover et al 2005a). On an individual level, the social connectionsestablished between garden participants can also have positive outcomes.It is this community involvement and social connectivity that has led many researchers tovalue OGPs for their social capital-creating potential (Glover et al 2005a; Glover 2004;Okvat and Zautra 2011; Teig et al 2009; Wakefield et al 2007; Hancock 2001; Schmelzkopf2002 and Glover et al 2005b). Some researchers have gone further to argue that the garden’srole as a social site is more significant than their food production purpose (Holland 2004,Saldivar-Tanaka and Krasny 2004).As “third places” (Oldenburg 1999) between the public and private spheres, organisedgarden projects have the potential to be sites for intangible social outcomes, both throughtheir use as meeting places and as locations for leisure and social activities. Participation inOGPs has the potential to increase social interaction, both planned and accidental, which canlead to the establishment of social networks and potential outcomes.Social networks are important to organisations such as OGPs because of their grassrootsorigins and dependency on voluntary participation. King (2004) claims that the origins andoperations of non-profit organisations are: “aligned with the core dimensions of social capital: networks, relationships and trust, and shared vision and norms…Without these core components of social capital, nonprofits cannot be effective in achieving their missions.” (p482-483)Glover, Parry et al (2005b) argue that institutions such as OGPs rely on their socialconnections to achieve greater goals for the gardens. They state that “[c]onnections, 10
    • knowledge, time, and skills, among other tangible and intangible resources, are also key tothe ultimate success of organizations, particularly grassroots organizations which invariablyhave fewer institutionalized resources upon which to operate” (2005b, p450-451).Ostensibly, the intangible social aspects of OGPs are far from peripheral but to fullyappreciate the role of social connections in the ongoing sustainability of OGPs, it is necessaryto explore the concept of “social capital”.Interpreting social capitalThe definition of social capital is elusive and has been debated amongst theorists for manyyears. However, in its broadest sense, it is about the outcomes from social connections.Bourdieu (1986) locates social capital, which he characterises as “connections”, with humanand physical capital as resources that can be exchanged by individuals for economic capital(p243). Bourdieu argues that social capital requires the personal investment of energy andtime to maintain it and stresses that continual participation in social networking and groupmembership leads to an accumulation of social capital and eventual personal gain, through a“continuous series of exchanges in which recognition is endlessly affirmed and reaffirmed”(1986, p250).For this reason, Bourdieu argues that social capital can be unevenly distributed and thatpower relations play a part in an individual’s capacity to exploit this resource. He emphasisesthe risk that well-connected people and organisations will try to maintain their stocks ofsocial capital to the exclusion of others and explains by stating that “the structure of thedistribution of the different types and subtypes of capital at a given moment in timerepresents the immanent structure of the social world” (1986, p242).Neither, argues Bourdieu, does social capital exist merely because of an institution ororganisation which may permit it to. He claims that “the existence of a network ofconnections is not a natural given, or even a social given” (1986, p249). Coleman (1990)furthers this argument by stating that stocks of social capital, if not given enough attention,may weaken and cease to provide benefits. Coleman argues that: 11
    • “social capital depreciates if not renewed. Social relationships die out if not maintained, expectations and obligations wither over time; and norms depend on regular communication” (1990, p321)Where Bourdieu sees social capital as a transactional exchange by which individuals canimprove their economic positions, Coleman (1990) focuses on the relationships betweenindividuals in his interpretation of social capital, still locating social capital within theeconomic system. He argues that social capital is “created when the relations among personschange in ways that facilitate action” (1990, p304).Coleman supports Bourdieu’s argument that social capital is a resource which can benefitindividuals but argues that it cannot be easily exchanged, and does not belong to individualsalone, but is rather an “attribute of the social structure in which a person is embedded” (1990,p315). His focus is on the presence and function of social capital in family and communitynetworks.Where Coleman and Bourdieu argue that social capital exists within relationships betweenindividuals, Putnam (1995) claims that social capital is embedded in communities andregions. Putnam defines social capital as “features of social organization such as networks,norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (1995,p67).By measuring civic engagement, through participation in volunteer groups and voter turnoutin elections, Putnam seeks to establish a link to the quality of government and of public life.Putnam’s interpretation of social capital has been criticised as being reductionist by trying tolink participation in voluntary associations with the presence of social capital. Putzel (1997)argues that Putnam’s selection of indicators of social capital aims to “identify a singleexplanatory framework to account for the entire gamut of political and economicperformance” (p940).Other researchers in this area have argued that the social capital doesn’t always have positiveoutcomes for individuals or communities. Fukuyama (2001), for example, acknowledges thedark side of social capital by citing heavily networked groups such as the Ku Klux Clan or 12
    • the Mafia. He proposes that the net value of social capital should be considered, instead ofassuming that all social capital is good.As shown, scholars working in the field of social capital have varied interpretations of theterm, its role in social relations and what indicators should be used to measure its presenceand reach. White (2002) argues that it is useful to consider a continuum of social capital,rather than one fixed definition. He claims that: “At one end is the concern with citizenship, empowerment, democratization and social justice, while at the other end social capital may be associated with strategies to strengthen traditional family and community structures and the remoralization of the social order. The points on the continuum should not be seen as alternatives” (2002, p258).This study will draw on the work of previous research into social capital in considering thevalue and presence of social capital in OGPs. Emphasis will be given to the role of socialnetworks in overcoming social and economic disadvantage; specifically Bourdieu’s (1986)and Coleman’s (1990) arguments that social capital requires personal investment andattention to endure; Bourdieu’s work (1986) recognising the influence of power structures;Putnam’s (1995) use of social trust and civic engagement as measurements of social capital(although his selection of indicators are questionable); and Fukuyama’s (2001) notion ofmeasuring the net value of social capital. These will be considered in the interview processand discussed in Chapter 6.Measuring social capitalAs noted, there are many ways to measure social capital, and much debate over how this isbest achieved. As social capital is about outcomes from social relationships, connections andnetworks, the focus of this research will be on different aspects of social networks in OGPsand which features facilitate outcomes for garden participants and communities.White (2002) defines social networks as a “web of social relations or resources that surroundindividuals, groups or organizations and the characteristics of their ties” (p261). This studywill build on the work of White and his research on social networks, as a proxy for socialcapital, in evaluating the effects of community initiatives by using three key features of social 13
    • networks. These are the density of networks as measured by the quality of relationshipsbetween people and their links to positive outcomes, the reachability of networks, based onthe theory that small distances in relationships leads to faster communication, and the level ofcentralisation of networks, defined by White as the extent to which the “network is notdivided into cliques or subgroups” (p261). These will be discussed here and then used as aframework for presenting the interview findings in Chapter 5.Network densityWhite (2002) suggests that social networks are important as it is the quality of relationsbetween people, not the quantity that will lead to “collective action and cooperativebehaviour” (p261). This study will determine the quality of social networks in OGPs usingseveral measurements including sociability, trust and reciprocity.Firstly, levels of sociability will be measured. This can be indicated through the amount andquality of interaction between gardeners, for example time spent in the garden talking toother gardeners, activities undertaken in the garden apart from gardening and new friendshipsformed within the garden. Glover et al (2005a) and Teig et al (2009) stress the importance ofsociability in the organised garden setting. Glover et al argue that OGPs provide a setting inwhich relationships between people are built as: “most community gardens are established with the purpose to create and share positive, expressive, and friendly interactions with neighbors and community members…sociability values drive grassroots associations to encourage social interaction among a set of people or population” (2005a, p86).Teig et al (2009) comment that non-gardening activities in the garden act as a catalyst forother social processes in the neighbourhood. They argue that “[p]lanning and decision-making take place, and social connections are cultivated, both among gardeners and betweengardeners and other neighbourhood residents” (2009, p1120).Secondly, trust and reciprocity amongst garden participants will be measured as indicators ofsocial capital in OGPs. 14
    • Trust in social networks has been identified as an indicator of the presence of social capital.Uslaner (2005) argues that participation in some forms of civic engagement, such asvolunteer activities, depend on and promote what he calls generalised trust, described as “theperception that most people are part of your moral community” (p6). This is contrasted withknowledge-based trust, which is based on the experiences of individuals rather than theirbeliefs.Uslaner therefore argues that how you trust is a key determinant for measuring levels of civicengagement because participation in the more demanding forms of engagement, such asvolunteer work, “depend upon generalized trust and reinforce it” (2005, p15). It can beargued that generalised trust is important in activities such as OGPs as these can bridge socialgroups.Glover et al (2005b) support Uslaner’s argument and argue that trust “helped transformformal relationships restricted to the garden context into genuine friendships” extendingbeyond the garden setting (p464). Teig et al (2009) also found high levels of trust amonggarden participants in garden projects in Denver, Colorado.Whether people who participate in voluntary activities, such as OGPs, are more willing andable to trust strangers (“generalised trusters”) or if participation in these activities encouragesthese sentiments remains a challenge for researchers. Trust is considered an importantcharacteristic of social capital and for the purpose of this study will be measured throughlevels of garden participation and friendships existing outside the garden setting.Reciprocity is another social norm used to indicate social capital. Reciprocity broadly denotesan expectation that people will respond and react to each other in similar ways. King (2004)elucidates by saying that “participants may exchange favors and help not tit for tat but in adiffuse, tacit manner in which they may return favors in an unspecified manner at anunspecified time” (p473). In the OGP setting, reciprocity may translate to garden participantsborrowing tools from each other in the expectation that a favour that is fitting andproportionate (but not necessarily the same) will be returned.Teig et al (2009) found that garden participants exhibited evidence of reciprocity throughtheir willingness to share garden produce in the expectation that the favour would be 15
    • returned, as well as garden participants seeking emotional support and advice from otherparticipants. In this research, reciprocity will be measured by the exchange of favours in thegarden setting, or if participants turn to each other for support and advice.Network reachabilityWhite (2002) analyses network reachability, or the distances between relationships, which heargues is significant as small distances can lead to faster communication, and therefore betteroutcomes for individuals (2002, p261). Network reachability will be measured in this studythrough the use of strong and weak ties to achieve garden aims and if bridging or bondingsocial capital is apparent.The reachability of networks builds on the earlier work of Granovetter (1973) who analysedhow “strong ties” and “weak ties” can assist in achieving positive social capital outcomes.Granovetter’s model suggests weak ties can be “indispensable to individuals’ opportunitiesand to their integration into communities”, whereas strong ties can lead to “overallfragmentation” and less significant outcomes (p1378). Granovetter argues that information,and hence opportunities, has greater reachability if it is transmitted through weak ties ratherthan strong ties, as the information can reach a greater number of individuals (p1366).White’s (2002) research into community networks in the United Kingdom reaffirmsGranovetter’s theory that weak ties are essential to individuals’ opportunities and their placein society.Work has also been undertaken on the importance of strong ties within social networks.Glover et al (2005b) conducted interviews with OGP leaders and participants in St Louis toassess the role of social connections in advancing the aims of their gardens. They found thatthe garden participants used both their strong and weak ties to assist with the garden, toattract new members to the garden and to acquire resources.The presence of strong and weak ties in social connections is linked to “bridging” and“bonding” social capital. Glover et al (2005b) concluded their research by stating that OGPnetworks depend on both established networks (bonding) and the resources of outsiders(bridging) to further the garden’s aims. Kingsley and Townsend’s (2006) analysis of an OGPalso found evidence of bridging and bonding between garden participants and Teig et al 16
    • (2009) claim that participation in OGPs is a social “leveller,” where people work together inthe garden setting regardless of their backgrounds.Centralisation of networksThe third feature of networks that will be discussed is the degree to which networks arecentralised, as an indicator of social cohesion or integration. White (2002) argues that wherenetworks were shown to be highly integrated in his case studies, they were able to offersupport and benefits for network members. According to White, if a network is not wellintegrated, there is a risk of closed networks developing, and a subsequent concentration ofadvantage (power). This builds on the earlier work of Bourdieu (1986) who analysed thepotential uneven distribution of social capital.This research will build on White’s analysis of network centralisation and integration for thedual purposes of discussing democratic processes in the garden setting and the possibleconnections social capital has to providing solutions to social and economic disadvantage.Several researchers have discussed the relationship between social capital and democratic andcivic engagement (Putnam 1995; Knack and Keefer 1997) and to tackling issues of social andeconomic disadvantage (Ferris et al 2001; Hanna and Oh 2000; Schmelzkopf 1995; Kawachiet al 1997 and Knack and Keefer 1997).This research will therefore attempt to establish a link between the presence of social capitalwithin individual garden networks, between networks of OGPs, connections with otherorganisations and the potential community development benefits. Network centralisation willbe measured through levels of access to the garden and its resources and access to decision-making processes.Glover et al (2005a) argue that as grassroots undertakings, OGPs are more likely to be moredemocratic and less hierarchical, allowing direct involvement in decision-making processes.They argue that: “[c]ommunity gardens require gardeners to participate directly in the workings of the association and facilitate face-to-face interaction. By making collective decisions, associational members are afforded 17
    • opportunities to join a group effort, become an active member of a community, take on leadership roles, and work toward common goals.” (2005a, p80)However, it cannot be assumed that these democratic features are present in OGPs merely onthe basis of their grassroots origins. Glover et al (2005a) concede that it is difficult toconclude if participation in OGPs breeds democratic values or whether people with thesevalues are more likely to be attracted to OGPs.For the purpose of this study, the decision-making structures of the gardens will be analysedto assess the integration of garden networks. Whether all garden members are afforded thesame rights to making decisions about the future directions of the garden or if this isconcentrated among a select few will be considered. Similarly, whether or not gardenparticipants have proportionate rights and responsibilities will be another indicator used togauge network centralisation.The availability of the garden to neighbourhood residents will be used to assess thedemocratic values present in the OGPs studied. This will be measured by the level of gardenaccessibility to all parts of the community including the garden physical accessibility and anyconsideration of less socially and economically advantaged parts of the neighbourhood.Gaps in the current researchThis study will address the argument that OGPs can be sites of social capital, through theirestablishment and maintenance of social connections. That these projects require socialcapital in their establishment and continuing function as third places for local residents willalso be considered in the following chapters.The roles of OGPs and social networks in tackling social and economic disadvantage willalso be the subject of this research. Where previous research has focussed on the presence ofsocial capital in individual OGPs, little research has been undertaken on the networksestablished and maintained between OGPs and other gardens or other organisations in thebroader community, and how this can assist with tackling issues of disadvantage byfurthering social capital outcomes. 18
    • This study will address that gap in the research by focussing not only on social connectionswithin gardens but on networks that exist outside of the garden setting, on individual andorganisational levels. These networks will be diagrammatically presented and in Chapter 5 inthe context of both network density and reachability. Building on the work of Glover et al(2005a and 2005b), this research will seek opinions from both garden leaders (coordinators)and garden participants. The need for community gardens to “mobilise their resources” toachieve garden aims to establish and sustain the garden will also be considered (Glover et al2005b, p450). 19
    • Chapter 3 – Case study areaThe demography of disadvantage in TasmaniaThis chapter will examine social and economic disadvantage in Tasmania generally and thenin the case study area to assess the value of external social connections and their outcomes inthe OGP setting. Work undertaken at local and state government levels to address theseinequities, in particular the current focus on social inclusion, will be discussed to provide apolicy context.It has been argued by community organisations and parts of government that disadvantage isprevalent in Tasmania (Tasmanian Council of Social Services 2007 and 2009; StrongerCommunities Taskforce 2008; Adams 2009). The Tasmanian Council of Social Services(TASCOSS 2007) argues that disadvantage is pervasive in Tasmania as: “Tasmania has levels of poverty and disadvantage that are higher than the national average. No matter how you look at it, poverty, disadvantage and exclusion are part of every day life in Tasmania” (p4).The 2009 Social Inclusion Strategy (the Strategy) presents policy responses to disadvantage,which prevents Tasmanians from having “a decent education, skills, meaningful work, accessto services, good relationships and a say on what matters to us” (Adams 2009; p8).The Social Inclusion Commissioner Professor David Adams uses a variety of social andeconomic indicators to argue the case for the existence of disadvantage in Tasmania (seeTable 1), including data indicating community concern about food insecurity.Accordingly, one of the ten strategies for action outlined in the Strategy centres aroundaccess to food and food security. One of these actions is the establishment of a Food SecurityCouncil to hold funds to “support infrastructure investment in food security and to promotefood security social enterprises” (Adams 2009, p30). The Strategy emphasises OGPs as anexemplar for social inclusion and addressing disadvantage through their social, economic andenvironmental outcomes arguing that: 20
    • “To start up a community garden requires some community leadership, skills around gardening, access to capital and land, ways of engaging local people, a ‘business plan’ to pull it all together and a decent amount of time and energy to keep it going often with local volunteers. Many communities have already chosen to go down this path but others don’t have the capability and mix of resources to make it happen.“ (Adams 2009, p24-25)Whether networks of residents have the right mix of capabilities and resources to start andmaintain OGPs will be discussed in Chapter 6 based on the research results.A Tasmanian Government response to the Strategy was the establishment of the TasmanianFood Security Council (TFSC) to oversee the distribution of grants to projects to boost foodsecurity and social inclusion (Social Inclusion Unit 2009). The TFSC has provided one roundof grant funding to successful applicants but due to a lack of government finances, a secondround of funding was withdrawn, meaning many of the successful round one projects werenot able to apply for additional funding to extend their projects.In the following section, social and economic disadvantage in the case study area of greaterHobart will be outlined (see Figure 1). 21
    • Table 1 – Estimated social exclusion risk factors in Tasmania Number Reference year (rounded) Poverty and financial hardship People living below the poverty line 64 000 2005-06 Households dependent on government pensions and 69 000 2007-08 allowances People worried about food security 18 000 2005 People accessing emergency relief services 16 000 2007-08 Exclusion from housing People who are homeless 2 500 2006 People waiting for public housing 3 000 2009 Exclusion from jobs and skills Adults with poor literacy skills 174 000 2006 (aged 15-74) Adults (aged 25-64) with no qualifications 116 000 2008 Long term unemployed (aged 15 and over) 2 200 2008-09 People employed part-time 75 000 2008-09 Children living in jobless families 21 000 2006 Locational disadvantage, service and transport exclusion People living in rural areas 130 000 2006 (with population < 1000 people) People living in disadvantaged* areas 39 000 2006 (*as identified by ABS Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage) People who cannot easily access transport 9 400 2006 People who have difficulties in accessing services 81 000 2006 they need Households who do not have access to the internet 79 000 2006 (digital exclusion) Risk behaviours People consuming alcohol at risky levels (aged 14 39 000 2007 and over) People who used illicit drugs (aged 14 and over) 60 000 2007 Population groups at-risk People with a disability 24 000 2006 Tasmanian Aborigines 17 000 2006 Older Tasmanians (65+) living alone 20 000 2007 Lone parent families with children aged under 15 12 000 2007(Adams 2009) 22
    • Area B Area AFigure 1: Map of the Case Study Area(Tasmanian Electoral Commission 2011) 23
    • The case study areaThe research in this study focuses on organised garden projects and their links to social andeconomic disadvantage within the greater Hobart area, namely the Hobart City (Area A) andGlenorchy City (Area B) municipalities. Disadvantage, measured through a variety ofindicators, is present in both areas (see Table 2). These indicators are indicative of themultiple and complex needs within the community.Table 2: Indicators of disadvantage in the case study area Hobart City Glenorchy City Australian (Area A) (Area B) average Population (people) 47,700 43,413 - Median individual weekly $526.00 $384.00 $466.00 income Unemployment rate 5.5% 6.8% 5.2% % of single parent 15.7% 22.7% 15.8% households % of population aged over 13.9% 17.0.% 13.3% 65 % of single person 30.9% 30.8% 22.9% households % population renting 32.6% 27.5% 27.2% % of rentals through a 9.3% 30.8% 14.9% state or federal public housing authority SEIFA Index of Relative 1041 920 Disadvantage rating(Sources: ABS Census data – Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006a and 2006b)City of HobartAs Tasmania’s capital, the City of Hobart is the centre for many government, education andcommunity services. The Hobart City Council’s Social Inclusion Strategy (2010) notes thatwhile Hobart City is the least disadvantaged area in Tasmania (according to the AustralianBureau of Statistics Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage), there are still certain parts of the municipality and certaindemographic cohorts that are less advantaged. In particular, the suburbs of New Town and 24
    • North Hobart are identified as facing “similar levels of disadvantage to suburbs in Glenorchyand Sorell” (Hobart City Council 2010, p3).Specific demographic cohorts within the municipality, including some older people, peoplewith disability and culturally and linguistically diverse people are identified as those atgreater risk of disadvantage by the Hobart City Council (2010). Other trends contributing todisadvantage in Hobart City include an ageing population, a growth in the numbers of olderpeople living alone (38.3% of occupants of single-person households are aged 65 years orolder), a pattern of workers leaving the state, a low birth rate due to fewer young and agrowth in the number of international university students (Hobart City Council 2008, p4, 28,56).City of GlenorchyIn contrast, the City of Glenorchy is the eighth most disadvantaged local government area inTasmania. Key business sectors in the Glenorchy area include retail and other services,manufacturing, wholesale trade, construction (City of Glenorchy 2010).The Glenorchy Social Plan identifies a number of social disadvantage factors in the areaincluding an ageing population, a high proportion of one-parent families (22% in 2001), lowschool retention rates (55.4%), a higher rate of infant deaths and youth unemployment (Cityof Glenorchy 2003 and 2010).While pockets of disadvantage exist in the City of Hobart, broadly speaking, social andeconomic disadvantage is more widespread and visible in Glenorchy.Local government support for organised garden projects in the case study areaAs stated in Chapters 1 and 2, OGPs, through their potential positive outcomes can contributeto ameliorating economic and social disadvantage. The Hobart City Council recently adopteda formal policy to support the establishment of OGPs and identifies and provides suitablecouncil-owned land for use as OGPs, based on a demonstrated need and communitycommitment (2011). Residents must indicate how the site will be established and maintainedthrough a written application and approval process (Hobart City Council 2011). 25
    • The Glenorchy City Council does not have a formal policy but works with local communitiesto set up OGPs if contact is made. R. Park from the Glenorchy City Council, in an emailmessage to the author on the 10th of November 2011, stated that the council works withresidents to: “identify who owns the land any other associated issues and processes that may need to be considered and agreements would be reached from there…If it is council land we would negotiate use/access, availability etc”Current organised garden project initiatives in the case study areaThe first round of grant funding from the TFSC was distributed in early 2011. In the casestudy area, there are two projects currently underway which address issues of food security,social exclusion and disadvantage.Glenorchy Family Food AllianceThe Glenorchy Family Food Alliance (GFFA) aims to establish and maintain effectivenetworks and partnerships between local primary and high schools, the Glenorchy CityCouncil and other community organisations concerned with sustainability and food securityissues (Glenorchy Family Food Alliance 2010). With a focus on engaging children andfamilies in healthy and local eating, the GFFA aims to develop a model of food security. Theproject is trialling initiatives such as a “’garden craft’ training program, curriculumdevelopment, a ‘Family Food’ network, support for community and school gardens and microenterprise development” (Community Nutrition Unit 2011a, par. 11).Feeding the FutureThe Feeding the Future (FTF) project is a state-wide collaboration including several schoolsin the greater Hobart area, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and community welfareorganisations. The goal of FTF is “to create a sustained food and knowledge network whichwill engage the community and empower them to participate in their own solution to foodsecurity issues” (Community Nutrition Unit 2011a, par. 6). The project seeks to establish anetwork of gardens for sharing produce to minimise food insecurity amongst disadvantagedTasmanians by supplying community kitchens with produce from OGPs. In a practical sense,garden participants can join the FTF “guild” and use garden beds to grow crops to be donatedto the FTF project for distribution to disadvantaged Tasmanians. As guild members, garden 26
    • participants can also access certified horticulture courses at a reduced cost (CommunityNutrition Unit 2011b).Both the GFFA and FTF are potential examples of how networks between OGPs and othergardens and community organisations can facilitate positive outcomes for disadvantagedTasmanians. The significance of these networks will be explored in Chapter 6 in thediscussion on the case study research results.As this chapter has illustrated, social and economic disadvantage is present although notnecessarily visible in Tasmania and in the case study area. The role that OGPs play inaddressing the issues of ‘at risk’ communities is discussed further in Chapter 6. 27
    • Chapter 4 - MethodologyThis research project will use a case study to examine social networks that exist within OGPsand beyond the garden setting. A total of 16 organised garden projects were identified in thecase study area although it is assumed that more exist. Eleven gardens were located in Area A(Hobart) and five in Area B (Glenorchy), including five school gardens, three garden projectsattached to or auspiced by community houses and one garden which also has a socialenterprise function.The principal method for gathering data for analysis was from face-to-face interviewsconducted with representatives of these gardens. This methodology follows that of otherresearchers working in the area of identifying social capital in OGPs (Glover 2005a; Glover2004; Somerset et al 2005; Teig et al 2009; and Kingsley and Townsend 2006).Using contact details obtained from the Eat Well Grow Well website listing of OGPs (2009),garden coordinators were contacted via email to determine their interest in participating ininterviews. Five coordinators replied and agreed to be interviewed. Some replied to say thatthe garden was no longer operational, for example at schools where school renovationsresulted in the garden’s removal.Some OGPs didn’t have a specified garden coordinator; instead nominated participants arethe contacts for the garden. The contact details of garden participants willing to beinterviewed were sourced from the garden coordinators where possible. Eight gardenparticipants agreed to be interviewed.An initial aim of the thesis was to arrange focus groups for organised garden participants toget a diversity of opinions on each OGP. However, it was problematic to arrange for a timeand place suitable for garden participants to be involved in focus group sessions together.InterviewingUsing qualitative and quantitative methods, this investigation aims to understand the role ofsocial connections in OGPs by analysing a set of interview responses from a sample ofmembers from eight OGPs in the case study area. In four instances both the coordinator andparticipants from the same garden were interviewed providing a richness of perspectives. 28
    • Flexible qualitative research methods in the form of in-depth, semi-structured interviewswere chosen as the principal method for data collection. In addition to the interview process,a brief confidential survey collected quantitative data about the garden participant’sbackground.Interviews were conducted over a two week period in August 2011, undertaken at timesconvenient to the interviewee. Time played a key role in the data collection process; many ofthe coordinators and participants work full-time and it was difficult to arrange a convenientopportunity for interviewing. Many of the interviews were conducted at the interviewee’splace of residence or work. Interviewing the garden coordinators and participants in a placein which they felt comfortable may have contributed to the honesty of responses.Two broad sets of questions were developed for organised garden coordinators andparticipants. Interviews were semi-structured with a focus on particular issues relevant to theresearch question. The interview questions were open-ended in nature to facilitate a free-flowing conversation.Introductory questions which are pertinent to this study include: • Motivations for garden establishment, • funding used to set up the garden, • the tenure arrangement, • perceived social, economic and environmental benefits of garden participation, and • the dissemination of education about nutrition and ecological processes and/or gardening amongst garden participants.Following on from White (2002), the density, reach and centralisation of social networkswere topics for discussion in these interviews. Questions therefore focussed on topics such associability in the garden, trust and reciprocity (network density); the use of social ties toachieve garden and personal aims including both strong and weak social connections(network reachability); and governance and decision-making structures of the garden, thedistribution of roles and responsibilities, and garden accessibility (network centralisation)(White 2002). 29
    • Data analysisThe data obtained by the interviews were both qualitative and quantitative. The interviewswere digitally recorded with the interviewee’s consent and later transcribed. The responseswere then categorised thematically and analysed using an Excel spreadsheet. Due to the smallsize of the sample this process was executed without the aid of computer software forqualitative analysis.Difficulties and constraintsA constraint of the study was the difficulty in contacting and locating garden coordinatorsand particularly participants, which could be considered a reflection of the loose structure ofmany of the OGPs. Whether this research ignores the views of the more marginal members ofOGPs is debatable as it is unknown if these members would have participated in the study.This study covers a broad range of OGPs in the case study area but for the purposes ofcomparison, it would have been preferable to have a larger sample size of participants.However, the study sample does provide an indication of the existing social networks bothwithin individual OGPs and the connections that exist between the gardens and otherorganisations, which are integral for the purposes of this study.Another perceived difficulty with the research was that interviews occurred during earlyAugust, which coincided with a period of particularly miserable weather in the case studyarea. Without wishing to promote the dogma of environmental determinism, it is likely thatthe weather had some impact on responses.EthicsGarden coordinators were provided with an information sheet detailing the research projectand a consent form upon initial contact via email. This information was also provided togarden participants before the commencement of every interview. The coordinators andparticipants were reassured that the interviews were confidential which encouraged a free-flowing and honest conversation to take place.The results of these interviews are set out in the following chapter and their implications forsocial capital theory are discussed in Chapter 6. 30
    • Chapter 5 - FindingsEstablishing the gardensThis chapter sets out the findings from the interviews with garden coordinators andparticipants in the case study area. The potential outcomes from OGP participation, asemphasised in Chapters 1 and 2, will be presented here.The majority of the gardens were established for ecological reasons. In most neighbourhoodgardens, a pre-existing network of local community members worked together to establish alocal garden. In two instances, Gardens 2S and 8N, access to grant funding was the majordeterminant for garden establishment. While other gardens were able to access grant funding,this wasn’t considered a major impetus for setting up the garden. The amount of money spentestablishing the gardens also varied greatly, from several hundreds of dollars ($600 forGarden 3S) to many thousands of dollars ($52,800 for Garden 8N).The people of the organised garden projectsFor some OGPs both the coordinator and a participant representative were interviewed.However, as mentioned in Chapter 4, this was not possible for all garden projects. An officerfrom an organisation involved with OGPs was also interviewed to gain a broader perspectiveof the garden projects in the case study area and their links to overcoming disadvantage. He isreferred to in this chapter as ‘Ian.’Five garden coordinators were interviewed. Gardens 5N, 6N and 7N don’t have gardencoordinators and are managed by the garden participants. Three coordinators are teachers atthe school gardens, the garden coordinator of Garden 8N is also the coordinator of theneighbourhood house which auspices the garden while the coordinator of Garden 4N is avolunteer, who established the garden and has decades’ of experience in horticultureeducation. Eight gardeners were interviewed and their background details are presented inTable 4. 31
    • Table 3: Profile of the organised garden projects Garden (S =school, Cost of N= estab- neighbour- Year lishing Tenure of rhood) estab- No. of Motivations for the the Funding Membership land lished beds garden garden source(s) cost Various School community sources – interest in school sustainability; the budget, prize school is also involved money, grant Garden on 1S in the AUSSI-Tas funding and school Area A 2009 8 beds initiative $7-8,000 donations - grounds Grant funding that was transferred to the school that had to be Garden on 2S spent within a Grant school Area B 2010 17 beds timeframe Unknown funding - grounds Interest from Garden on 3S coordinating teacher Grant school Area A 2007 6 beds and grant funding $600 funding - grounds Interest from local $50 a year community in per member, sustainability and Grant including desire to set up first funding $25 to 4N community garden in from various umbrella Council Area A 1997 60 beds Hobart $3,500 sources organisation land $50 a year per member, Interest from local Grant including community members; funding $25 to 5N linked to Community from various umbrella Area A 2009 50 beds Association $16,670 sources organisation Council Interest from local Private community in Cost for land, sustainability; linked to construction donated for Community of fence use as an Association; many donated by organised 6N members have small Community garden Area A 2008 12 beds backyards $800 Association $0 project No 16 fruit Interest from local Grant membership Private trees community in funding yet - no land leased and 1 sustainability; linked to from various individual from an 7N large Community sources, beds adjoining Area A 2009 bed Association $7,000 fundraising available church Local council received federal grant for garden; some level of 8N community interest in Grant Council Area B 2009 49 beds sustainability $52,800 funding $5 a year land 32
    • Table 4: Profile of the garden participants Country of Length of Time per Distance birth/ Highest Previous time week from Garden cultural level of gardening involved spent in home to Participant Age background Occupation education training in project garden garden A (male) Andrew; No formal Garden 6N 32 Australia Project Officer University training 3 years 1/2 hour 1km Was a market gardener for B (female) 3 years, Bronwyn; lifelong Garden 6N 42 Australia Town Planner University hobby 3 years 1/2 hour 1km 7 hours in C (female) summer, Colleen; No formal 1 hour in Garden 4N 51 Australia Retired Year 12 training 8 years winter 3kms D (male) David; High No formal Garden 4N 51 Scotland Retired School training 8 years 2 hours 3kms E (female); Ethel; Lifelong Garden 5N 62 Scotland Retired University interest 3 years 2 hours 500m Several F (female) hours Frances; Sole parent Personal every Garden 8N 43 Australia (unemployed) Year 12 interest 2 years weekend 1km No formal G (male) South Environmental training, Greg; Africa & advocate and Technical personal Garden 6N 63 Wales educator college interest 3 years 2 hours 400m H (female) Harriett; Technical No formal Garden 7N 52 Australia Officer University training 2 years 3 hours 6kmEconomic, ecological and social aspects highlighted in the interviewsThis section will present the economic, ecological and social outcomes of OGP participationhighlighted by participants and coordinators.Participants noted some economic benefits from participation in the OGPs although it wasindicated that these weren’t a central motivating influence to garden participation.The coordinator of Garden 2S commented that a parent who had volunteered in the gardenwas consequently offered paid employment at the school. Frances from Garden 8N hasaccessed further training through the garden project. The produce from Garden 7N has beenmade into jam and sold. This income goes towards the yearly rent of the garden space. Two 33
    • participants, Colleen and David, reported a significant decrease in their cost of living fromgrowing food in the garden: “say were just having a basic meal of vegies and meat, all ourvegies will be from the plot. We dont have to buy anything.” (Colleen)Two garden coordinators commented that there was not the level of need present in thecommunity for OGP participation based on perceived economic outcomes to be significant,but that this may change with future economic downturns.In all cases, the existence of OGPs has created productive green spaces and a local source offood for garden participants. Most gardens have composting systems, although the success ofthese varied. At Garden 8N, for example, the compost was initially used as a deposit forhousehold waste.Tangible social outcomes from participation highlighted by participants include better accessto a range of foods and health promotion through physical activity. Psychological benefitswere also highlighted, for example by David from Garden 4N: “Once sort of you go throughthe gates then you like leave the world outside…so it’s really good like that”Education as a social outcome of OGP participation varied greatly. In the school gardens, theprioritising of environment education was dependent on the garden’s integration into theschool curriculum. At Garden 1S, the school has an overarching sustainability curriculumbased around the garden including education about waste management, biodiversity, energyconservation and food miles.At Garden 3S, use of the garden is interwoven with education about ecological processes bythe teachers who choose to, but it isn’t built into the whole school curriculum. The gardencoordinator commented that sustainability education is limited: “its only successful with afew teachers who take it seriously…probably only 3 or 4. So the others probably really justpay lip service to it”.Ian commented on the broader issues of getting people to connect to the outside world, bystating that disengagement from the environment affects society and impacts on people’swillingness to participate and commit to OGPs. This disengagement is reflected through thenature-culture dichotomy, where culture (humanity) is positioned as superior to and separate 34
    • from nature (the “environment”). He stated this was evident in school where some teachersaren’t able to get around this cognitive disconnect in their teaching.At Garden 2S, the garden is used for education about the environment and has been used inmaths lessons (for measurements), however there isn’t any specific education aboutgardening or ecological processes. The coordinator commented that: “it’s finite in terms ofwhat it can offer for the full curriculum.”None of the garden participants interviewed had any formal training in gardening and fewneighbourhood OGPs provide education on gardening and ecological processes. Three of theGardens, 6N, 7N and 8N, have no specific education available. In Garden 5N, the gardenersorganise ad hoc workshops for garden members about relevant aspects of gardening. InGarden 4N, the garden coordinator provides advice to participants where possible: “if you want to get information, um, hes [the coordinator] always there to sort of give it, but he doesnt force himself on you...yeah we go up and pester him and hes always got an answer.” (David, Garden 4N)This coordinator recognises the need for education, especially in facilitating success at thebeginning of a participant’s involvement: “I have to be careful, I won’t want to impose because people want to learn themselves the hard way which is amazing but, so if they’re doing something silly I do leave a note…there is so much education needed.” (Coordinator of Garden 4N)The lack of education was also highlighted as a barrier to participation by Ian and Colleenand David from Garden 4N. Colleen commented that when participants have failed crops,they give up.Social capital outcomesFor some participants, the social aspects of participation in OGPs weren’t a major motivator,whilst for others meeting new people was an attraction to being involved in the project. This 35
    • next section will present findings from the interviews based on themed questions aroundsocial capital as examined in Chapter 2. These will be discussed further in Chapter 6 as tohow they relate to social capital theory.Network densitySociabilityAll garden coordinators and participants reported some level of sociability in their gardens,measured by social interaction, non-gardening activities or the formation of new friendships.In the school gardens, the level of social interaction was found to be highly dependent on theinvolvement of teachers and parents and how the garden was prioritised by the schoolcommunity.At Garden 1S, social interaction is high, as evidenced through the use of the buddy classsystem, where older students are paired with younger students for their work in the garden.The garden is fully integrated into the school curriculum and there is also a high level ofinterest from the school community.At Garden 3S, which has students from both Area A and Area B, there is some interest fromsome teachers and classes who have beds in the garden. However, due to school renovations,the garden has been moved twice and is now at the rear of the school grounds out of sight ofmany of the classrooms. The coordinator commented that the garden’s location impactsnegatively on the level of interest from the school community.The location of the garden within the school grounds may be important to levels of sociabilityand will be discussed in the following chapter. At Garden 1S, for example, severalclassrooms look out over the garden whereas in Gardens 2S and 3S, the gardens are out ofsight from many of the classrooms.At Garden 2S, due to a lack of integration into the school curriculum and poor weather at thetime of interviewing, the garden had little recent use. The coordinator indicated a desire tohave more parent involvement in the garden but these efforts have been unsuccessful; shecommented on the difficulties in getting the school community to use the garden: 36
    • “I was talking to a teacher today and she said "Theres a garden plot out there, its got our name on it, the children in my class haven’t been out there, theyve never done anything out there, could it, would it be alright if we went out there and weeded it?" and I said "Yes that would be fantastic"”The school has now employed their gardener to work for six hours a week with classes in thegarden to ensure regular use.Levels of sociability in the gardens located in neighbourhoods are diverse. At Garden 4N,which has garden participants from both Area A and B, it was noted that it was rare to seeanother gardener at the site, let alone have a conversation with them. “there’s a lot of different um, um types of people, you know what I mean. Like some people want to just go there and keep their head down and get out…If you don’t really feel sociable…you can be catered for you know” (David)As some garden participants live in other suburbs, opportunities for social interaction arediminished as they spend minimal time there. The coordinator of the garden commented that“because they are so far away they come just when they have to” and don’t stay for verylong. Attempts to attract more local residents to the garden were being made by thecoordinator.At Garden 8N (Area B), there is a low level of community uptake of the 49 garden beds, withapproximately only 15 garden participants. Despite this, there is a small group of dedicatedgardeners who interact and share ideas. This was noted both by the garden coordinator andthe garden participant interviewed. “people who live here should feel ownership over this garden and…I’ve tried to make networks which aim to support this...I’m really determined to make sure this garden succeeds…were weeding the abandoned beds and planting them out because weve got to make it seem successful.” (Frances) 37
    • The garden coordinator noted that the site of the garden, several blocks away from theneighbourhood house at the end of a dead end street, has impacted on community interest.The coordinator was involved in discussions with the council as to the best location: “as you can imagine my first choice was to have it in this area here [on the grounds of the neighbourhood house] which is council property but they didnt see that as being suitable and then the second site that was chosen…but then there was an issue with overhead power lines, so we actually went to the third choice was, so vacant land.”Another aspect noted by both people interviewed, was that there hadn’t been any vandalismof this garden, indicating it is a valued part of the neighbourhood. This may also be anindicator of trust and reciprocity among community members: “I bought a hose and I just left the hose here just as like a little test, how bad is this area that I live in, and the hose is still here! So it actually got added on to, someone added an extension and some other things to it” (Frances)Participants from two garden projects, Gardens 5N and 7N, commented on the prevalence ofnon-garden participants dropping in to the garden and how this increased the levels of socialinteraction and the potential for the formation of new friendships. The location of bothgardens is significant; one is located among several other public recreation areas and theother is located near a large school and on church grounds.The coordinator of Garden 4N, who was also involved in setting up Garden 5N, commentedthat Garden 5N is “a meeting place for local people. People love to be close to theirneighbours where they live and so the social calendar there works really well”.Non-gardening activitiesAll garden coordinators and participants indicated that attempts have been made to have asocial focus in the gardens. 38
    • In the school Gardens 1S and 3S education about food is interwoven into the activities ofclasses. At Garden 1S, classes regularly hold kitchen events where they harvest, cook and eatfood from the garden: “the kids love setting their room up as a kitchen, making stuff, and then they love setting it up as a restaurant, you know, to eat together…the message should be to children that this is a low cost thing and that you can produce nutritious delicious meals…in any environment” (Coordinator).At Garden 3S, food is harvested for students to eat or take home. At Garden 2S, there is theintention to use the produce more broadly through the school. The garden coordinator notedthat so far produce has been used to make healthy foods for school events such as school fairsas alternatives to other food normally offered.At most neighbourhood gardens, attempts have been made at holding non-gardening events atthe garden. Most respondents expressed an interest in holding more events over the warmerspring and summer months.Participants from Garden 6N commented that there weren’t any non-gardening events basedat the garden, but that through the Community Association the neighbourhood holds severalcommunity events with a sustainability focus which are well attended. At Garden 4N, socialactivities are limited to an informal annual end-of-year picnic at the garden. Garden 8Npreviously held monthly BBQs at the garden however concern was expressed over theinadequate facilities, such as toilets and seating: “It just concerns me because in summer it gets really really hot…and older people, like we don’t have anywhere to sit down. Inside the shipping container there’s some big pots that the fruit trees, we just turn them upside down and sit on them” (Frances) 39
    • The coordinator expressed a wish to have a Men’s Shed set up at the garden site, whichwould boost community connections: “I think it needs to have that multi-activity stuff happening in it…Theres the water on and theres the shed for keeping things in, but theres no place to make a cup of tea, because it doesnt have the power. Theres no place..., you can only stay long enough... if you want to go to the toilet youve got to go home. So therere all those disadvantages, theyre only subtle ones but I think theyre quite important ones.”Gardens 5N and 7N have held successful events at the garden which have attracted bothgarden participants and non-garden members and have thereby expanded the membershipbase. Garden 7N holds semi-regular pizza nights for their local area: “thats how weve sort of expanded gradually just talking to people and inviting them to come and weve been when daylight savings is here we have just a social evening, one evening, where we use the pizza oven…well make a pizza and sit around and talk, that works quite nicely.” (Harriett)Some events held at Garden 5N have been too successful, prompting concerns over publicliability for the garden group: “social events have the possibility of getting us into terrible trouble because we had an winter solstice celebration the first year, 2009…maybe 30 people turned up, freezing cold, you know 6 o’clock in the middle of June…The next year it was bigger, it was 200..., no, I thought this is going to be too big… Well go down to the beach and use the public BBQs…But the garden cant do that because were just too liable for insurance issues if someone gets burnt…so we had to can it this year…So there is a great delight and wish for social events but small groups like ours can’t put themselves at risk.” (Ethel)Personal networksMost of garden participants stated they had met new people through the garden theyotherwise wouldn’t have. Some participants commented that existing neighbourhood 40
    • relationships were strengthened as a result of working together but that no new friendshipshad been made. Other participants commented that some new relationships were formed butthey remained at an acquaintance level. Andrew from Garden 6N commented that “Yeah,relationships, I suppose. It’s not, it’s not that we don’t like them, we’re just not friends withthem”In contrast, other participants stated that making new friends was a key motivator forparticipating in OGPs. Harriet from Garden 7N commented that the garden has “been a goodway to get to know other people in the community that I wouldn’t have met otherwise…I havemade some more friends. It’s been really nice to do, to widen my friendship circle in thesuburb.” Similarly, Frances from Garden 8N said she had “formed and maintained strongfriendships because of the garden.”Some participants noted that the garden also provided an opportunity, as a third place, fornon-garden participants to meet, and possibly form friendships. The placement of a sand pitin Garden 5N, for example, and its close proximity to other third places attracted parents withtheir children to the site. Social interaction between gardeners and passers-by was boosted: “It’s a very simple thing a sandpit…It’s amazing how it’s a drawcard for children. They just love to get in that sandpit and I think quite a few young mothers maybe walk by and meet each other casually” (Ethel)Social norms - trustInitially, interview questions were structured to determine the existence of trust indicators,specifically participation in OGPs and the friendships between garden participants existingoutside the garden setting. However, as will be discussed further in Chapter 6, the use ofthese indicators to measure trust is somewhat problematic.Several OGPs in this case study have had issues attracting garden participants and two schoolgardens have had difficulties attracting parents to volunteer in the garden. The coordinator ofGarden 2S indicated that time and competing priorities were a factor both for parents and forher to organise a volunteer roster for the garden. 41
    • New friendships extending beyond the garden boundaries exist in several projects. However,where friendships didn’t continue outside the garden, it was shown to be related to factorsother than the garden participants’ level of trust, such as time constraints or a desire to keepthe garden separate to other parts of their lives. Ethel, for example, when asked if shesocialises with other garden participants outside the garden setting, commented “Um notreally no, because we’re friends with a different group of people I think. Only at the gardensocial events, if we have an afternoon tea or something after a working bee” (Ethel, Garden5N). Further, some participants responded that the garden had not altered their levels of trust,as garden participation wasn’t a significant part of their lives.The garden participants were asked further questions on trust via email following theinterviews to explore Uslaner’s (2005) notion of ‘generalised trust’, particularly in relation tohow participants trust others and what they perceive their levels of trust to be.Frances from Garden 8N stated that, based on her experiences, some caution is required whendealing with people but commented: “I believe if you show respect you receive respect, If you go about blaming people for things, (eg damage to the crops in the community garden or pinching food) that is exactly what they will do, if you show trust and say, hey can you tell me who it was who damaged my food... and thank you for finding out ... the next time they see me they say "hey [Frances]..." and no more damage has been done in the garden.”Harriett (Garden 7N) commented that her involvement in the garden has reinforced her“belief in the goodwill of others” but that different levels of trust are applied to the variousgroups that use the garden, for example, the regular garden users compared to the youthjustice and work-for-the-dole participants.Andrew from Garden 6N also exercises caution when meeting and dealing with new peoplebased on past experiences (what Uslaner (2005) would call “strategic-based trust”): 42
    • “I am inherently distrustful of strangers…I make a quick judgment or assessment about a persons trustworthiness in the first second or two that I see them…Within the context of the community garden I have had/have a high level of trust with the people involved in it. There is/has been nobody involved with the community garden who I would not trust well enough to invite back to my house for a cuppa afterwards.”Greg (Garden 6N) indicated that he was a generalised truster (Uslaner 2005) when askedabout his levels of trust in people: “I generally entrust people unless they show any indication that they cant be. Sometimes that causes problems for me, in being let down, but I take a position that it is better to work on the basis of trust than mistrust. Nearly all people return trust and goodwill if it is offered to them.”Furthermore, Greg acknowledged that low levels of trust may be impact on people’s ability towork cooperatively with each other, therefore affecting levels of participation in voluntaryactivities: “we actually have to become more able to do things with other people so that society becomes stronger…we dont do it all that well because we are so used to our private space and privately owned things and feeling like someone else might be exploiting us etc so that we dont easily do things cooperatively”Social norms - ReciprocityIn the school gardens, reciprocity was reflected through parents volunteering in the garden inexchange for the perceived benefits to their children’s education. However, there werediffering levels of commitment across the parent communities. Garden 1S had almost toomuch parent involvement and enthusiasm, Garden 3S had just enough parent involvementwhereas Garden 2S had only one parent who, for a long period of time, was the sole gardenvolunteer. As mentioned, her efforts were rewarded by employment as a teacher aide. 43
    • In the neighbourhood gardens, many garden participants share surplus seeds and seedlings,although it is difficult to assess whether this is a sign of reciprocity or if participants were justreluctant to throw away excess.Within some gardens, produce from communal beds and fruit trees is shared indicating thatgarden participants work for common, not just individual, interests. At Garden 7N, forexample, in addition to the jam that is made and sold, at the time of interviewing gardenparticipants had expressed their gratitude to the volunteer labour by cooking them pizza onsite. In Garden 6N produce is distributed among participants and the broader community(including the landowner).Frances from Garden 8N expressed a desire to exchange produce with other gardeners afterexperiencing a glut of summer vegetables. She also lamented the loss of produce fromneglected beds: “That was one of the saddest things in the summer was, we were watching food rot. It was really sad, like, some of the beds down there were just self- seeded tomatoes but and they were rotting.”While many of the garden participants provide advice to each other about gardeningpractices, the interview findings did not provide any evidence of participants offering eachother emotional support or advice.Networks to other gardens and organisationsEvidence of networks between garden projects and the wider community was highlightedthrough the interview process. Following the work of White (2002), sociograms depicting thesocial networks of each garden project in this study are presented in the Appendices. Theseprovide a visual representation of the quantity and quality of and outcomes from theconnections with other gardens, individuals and organisations.The schools of Gardens 1S and 3S are linked to the AUSSI-Schools initiative which aims toestablish a school culture based on the principles of sustainable development (Department ofSustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 2010). The coordinators of 44
    • both school gardens noted that this was a networking group for teachers on a variety ofenvironmental issues, including OGPs.Garden 2S is linked to garden projects at other schools through the GFFA. At the time ofinterviewing, the garden coordinator commented that a network of school gardencoordinators had recently been established, which would aim to “develop a team of thepeople involved in the gardens, so the coordinator, to look at efficiencies and share strategiesand to try to help make it more sustainable”. Through the GFFA, the school also operates aweekly food co-op which sells organic local produce (not from the garden) to the schoolcommunity. The co-op is run by a school parent, with the intention that after trialling the co-op will become their business.Several neighbourhood gardens evolved from and are supported by existing communitystructures. For example, Gardens 5N, 6N and 7N, were established as a direct result of anetwork of dedicated residents. In these instances, their community associations served as amechanism to organise and work cooperatively to establish this goal. Communityassociations continue to serve as a conduit for sharing news about the garden includingadvertising upcoming social events.Some garden participants and coordinators commented that they had good connections andrelationships with their local councils, who provided council land for the garden, as well asongoing support and maintenance work.Four of the five neighbourhood gardens have other community organisations, especially localschools or disability groups, growing produce as members in the garden’s beds. Participantsnoted that the success of this was directly influenced by the distance needed to travel toaccess the garden. At Garden 5N, for example “the high school’s got a plot, not so successful.When you realistically look at it how often are they going to get kids along? It’s a 15, 20minute walk.” (Ethel) In contrast, the nearby playgroup uses its plot regularly.At Garden 8N, the participants are trying to encourage a nearby school to use the garden. Aschool that had previously used the garden on a regular basis had closed down due to schoolamalgamations. Frances from this garden commented that: 45
    • “the schools also got a chaplain and it actually gave him something to do with the kids he actually could take them out of the school. All of the kids that were naughty at school, were never naughty in here. Never. We grew sweet potatoes, grew potatoes, broad beans, and we made up all these wedges with sour cream it was great”Through the auspicing neighbourhood house, this garden is also connected with the Feedingthe Future program. Crops for distribution to less-advantaged communities are being grownin the garden by the neighbourhood house.Garden 7N has links to a local school that is a garden member and also uses the garden forphotography lessons. This Garden is also connected to other organisations, for example, ayouth justice program and a work for the dole organisation that provide labour for the garden.Despite the presence of several informal connections with other community organisations,only one of the gardens, Garden 2S, had a formal network established with other OGPs(through the GFFA), although many participants knew of and had visited other gardens andwished to be better connected. Potential outcomes noted by garden participants included theexchange of knowledge about gardening and advantages of being connected to a largermovement.Several garden participants envisioned the possibilities derived from a paid employee whowould work with gardens to assist participants to create and sustain networks with othergardens and organisations. Several participants outlined the potential benefits of such acentral role – including regular maintenance of the gardens, and knowledge-sharing aboutgardening, available funding sources and businesses sympathetic to garden projects.Network reachabilityUse of social ties to achieve garden aimsAll gardens use strong and weak social ties to keep the garden going, with differing levels ofsuccess. In Garden 4N (see Appendix 4), both the coordinator and participants commentedthat there wasn’t any need for external social connections to sustain the garden as themembership fees cover the cost of compost and the garden beds are maintained within the 46
    • garden community. However, it was noted that the garden coordinator does most of themaintenance work, including fixing garden beds and mowing the lawn around the beds.At Garden 6N (see Appendix 6) the land was donated by a neighbour, so the use of a strongtie played a significant role in the garden’s origin. Money from the Community Associationwas also used to construct a fence. The garden was established with few external inputs orresources and without the need for major funding, because the participants had a desire to nothave raised beds and to not import soils, as they saw this as going against the tenets ofsustainability.Ethel from Garden 5N (see Appendix5) noted that the garden participants had attempted tohave goods donated from external sources (using weak ties) but have failed, “we often appealfor help and don’t really get it so mmm, its hard…Yeah no, we haven’t been very successfulin getting useful things donated.” This garden uses weak social ties to recruit passers-by asnew members.Garden 7N (see Appendix 7) has lawn clippings donated from a nearby sports club and anacquaintance helped to construct a garden path, thereby using weak ties to achieve gardenaims. Garden participants have also attempted to use weak social ties to recruit new membersat garden events, although this has been hampered by a current lack of individual allotments.Harriett commented that “well put in the allotments thats part of our strategy to attractmore people because nobody really wants to do the shared thing”Frances from Garden 8N (see Appendix 8) is currently trying to attract greater interest to thegarden, by trying to get school classes back into the garden, using a local gardening identityto promote the garden and by advertising the garden through the Feeding the Future program.At the schools, Garden 1S (see Appendix 1) enlisted the energy and enthusiasm of schoolparents (strong social ties) and Green Corps to do work in the garden. Fruit trees weredonated by a local garden business. At Garden 3S (see Appendix 3), the coordinator’s partnerhelped to establish the garden and a small number of parents volunteer in the garden on aregular basis, providing an example of how strong ties keep this garden going. At Garden 2S(see Appendix 2), the coordinator considered using weak social ties to achieve garden aims,however she identified a problem: 47
    • “all the schools in our area are having gardens happening so we can’t all go and badger…our local nursery…but we can’t all go and say can you donate that’s not fair on that business and we can’t all, yeah, it takes money…”Bridging and bondingMost interviews provided evidence, through the examples cited above, of the presence ofbridging and bonding social capital in OGPs. Garden participants frequently used theresources of outsiders, especially in the establishment phase, to meet garden aims. Some ofthe gardens intentionally ‘bridge’ to different parts of the community; the sandpit at Garden5N and the pizza teas of Garden 7N are examples of this.In contrast, Garden 6N provides an example of the effect of ‘bonding’ on the garden and itsparticipants. Andrew commented that their neighbourhood is a “very affluent culturallyhomogenous bit of Hobart” while Greg stated that garden participation helped to strengthencommunity relationships rather than create new friendships. The bonding between gardenershas helped them further their goals: “we’ve certainly built a lot more social connection andcohesion” (Greg).Network centralisationDecision-making and the division of roles and responsibilitiesIn the schools, the coordinating teacher and/or principal makes the decisions about thegarden. The coordinator at Garden 2S noted that there wasn’t any consultation with theschool community about the establishment of the garden. As such, the school communityfeels little ownership of the garden: “no one in this school initiated it or drove it. Um, it wasa gift to us. So there is no ownership there.“The majority of the participants from neighbourhood OGPs were involved in the decision-making processes in some way but also expressed concerns about these practices.At Garden 4N, the coordinator makes all the decisions. However, both the coordinator andthe participants interviewed stated that attempts to enlist participants to take on additional 48
    • roles had not been successful. The participants indicated concern over the current decision-making structure, as the coordinator could not be expected to continue indefinitely in thisrole: “I think its unfair. What I would like to see happen is that working bees happen so everybody comes and you know maintains all of it. Because no ones really interested in that side of it so [the coordinator] does everything. But he doesnt seem to mind. You know, well I kind of think he does…But then he kind of doesnt want to hand the reins over to somebody else. To see like his baby go downhill and thats exactly what would happen. It would go downhill” (Colleen)Several gardens have informal decision-making groups which were particularly active in theinitial stages of development. Garden 6N, which doesn’t have a coordinator, uses a groupemail system to communicate about the garden. However, participants noted that the one ortwo who respond usually have the most input and influence in decision-making. Gregcommented on the need for more structure, through functional positions, to keep the gardengoing: “so that we dont depend on one or two people too much cos if they fail then theres noone to pick up the pieces and make sure everything gets done.”At Garden 7N, an email system is sometimes used to communicate information, butcommunal decisions are made in the garden. This OGP doesn’t have a coordinator but hastwo participants (including Harriet) who act in coordinating roles. Garden 5N does not have acoordinator but has a loose committee structure. As there are no office bearers, noresponsibility is taken for decisions that are made and working bees aren’t very well attended. “we have a committee meeting every 2 months, probably not often enough and make decisions [laughs] and then say well “Whos going to do that, and who’s going to do this?”, and so people say “Ill do that”, “Ill take on this”. But there’s no…imperative to get things actually done and reported back when you dont have a more formal structure. So things tend to slide then.” (Ethel)Several OGPs hold working bees, although time was raised as a factor impacting onattendance. Several participants commented on the need to share roles and responsibilities 49
    • more broadly among participants, to avoidance a reliance on one or two people. Timeconstraints were also acknowledged as affecting decision-making processes.Concerns with garden participants working together for a shared vision were raised by twogarden participants from different gardens. Colleen from Garden 4N questioned thepossibility of garden participants sharing garden responsibility: “I cant see...theres a lot ofstrong personalities there and I cant see people kind of working together.” Greg fromGarden 6N commented that the value in participating in OGPs was not the produce, but thegoal of trying to make people more community-oriented through cooperation: “The actual exercise is an exercise in social change and thats why see even when we go down there I put certainly more effort in than I get out in vegetables and so does [Andrew] and [Bronwyn]. I see the value in it as being more than just the vegetables…its part of the process of trying to help community, people to become more community orientated.”This view is supported by Ian who commented on the occasional competitive nature ofsustainability groups and how this can hinder the communal nature and function of organisedgarden projects.Garden accessibility and disadvantageIn the school gardens, accessibility is limited to the school teachers, students and theirfamilies. Garden 3S is physically accessible and the garden coordinator commented thatstudents from migrant backgrounds enjoy using the garden: “Well weve got a child whos mainly in a wheelchair. She absolutely loves gardening and um she gets very excited when she goes out there…She loves just feeling the dirt and planting…and the other group that really love gardening are the um E.A.L., the children um from other backgrounds, like the Karen-Burmese children that have come here as refugees.”The participants of Garden 6N stated that their garden was exclusive and not intended to beaccessible to the broader community. Andrew commented that it’s “not community in thesense of inclusive; its community in the sense of the Greenies who know each other…Itdoesn’t bring in people who live down this end or Asian kids [international students] or new 50
    • people or any of that.” Physical access to the steep garden is also limited. There aren’t anyindividual plots, which is also a deterrent to members of the community who may beinterested in joining the garden. Physical access to many of the gardens remains a problem,particularly those gardens with narrow paths between beds or limited seating.Garden 7N attracts visitors from across the demographic spectrum, including work-for-the-dole groups, youth justice groups, at-risk members of the community (who have beenreferred to the garden) and elderly women who frequent the garden after church on Sundays: “wed like it be a public area so people can feel free to come in and join and go out again…high school girls come in during the week with a couple of mums in the garden, and then work for dole guys come in and fix up the shed and do sort of infrastructure for us, so theyll be in it during the week. Theres a group nearby…and they have to do community service and occasionally theyll be there mowing the lawns and stuff so, so theres quite often people there during the week for various reasons” (Harriet)For Harriet, garden accessibility provides a mechanism to give something back to thecommunity: “its nice to feel like youre giving back a bit like we find that we get groups that are a bit alienated some of them…so its nice to have somewhere we can invite other parts of the community and feel like were giving something back as well. So its community spirit”Frances (Garden 8N) said that involvement in the garden helped to foster a sense of identityfor her daughter, because she doesn’t believe their community, located in an area of lesseradvantage, has a strong identity. “I’ve got a nine year old daughter and to me it was about her feeling um, [this suburb] doesnt have a shopping centre…we now dont have a school…we dont have services and we dont have anything. For me getting my daughter involved in the community garden was about having identity…its about having that recognition, who I am, this is where I’m from” 51
    • Local interest in Garden 8N is limited to a few committed gardeners and Frances remarkedthat a lack of signage and/or information probably plays a part in this: “A lot of people drive past this garden, a lot of people stop, a lot of people walk in and have a look, but can you see the sign that tells you how to apply for a garden bed? Can you see the sign that tells you who to contact? [laughs]”The coordinator of Garden 8N raised the issue of attracting people from less advantagedbackgrounds to the garden and for them to see the benefits of it: “I think in the areas where neighbourhood houses are, the really tight socioeconomic groups…how you shift from that survival sort of mm living to being able to think about, um “How I can support myself?”…so that shift in thinking that we can do a lot of… we can grow vegies and...live much more sustainably…Its hard because you have, in lots of areas…the group of committed people who are usually the ones who are the most aware um but Im always conscious of the ones who may need it most that are the ones that were not connecting with.”Ian noted that while many people see the benefits from growing their own food, for example,he commented that this mind shift hasn’t occurred across the whole community: “those people who are battlers, are still battlers and they often regard themselves as not having enough time to put in to, um, doing their own vegies…I feel community gardens break down some of those barriers because there’s no real commitment…It’s not in their backyard so they can come in…they can participate for a bit and they get something you know…I think they’ll be forced into some of this as well effectively through economic reasons. They’ll realise that they…if they grow a couple of lettuces out the back, you know, at least they save on a little bit of something… on the other hand, need support to do that so if they don’t get the support to do that, they won’t do that either.” 52
    • As previously mentioned, it was highlighted by coordinators that economic necessity waslikely to force more people into garden participation.Key findings, with particular emphasis on education, garden location, social connection andgarden accessibility, will be further discussed in Chapter 6 in relation to social capital theoryand the links to disadvantage. 53
    • Chapter 6 - DiscussionThis chapter will discuss the key findings of the interviews with garden participants andcoordinators which address the function of social capital in organised garden projects in thecase study area. Simply, the hypothesis that social networks can facilitate social capitaloutcomes in the garden setting, particularly for less advantaged sections of the community,will be tested.An overall finding of the research is that social networks play a key role in organised gardenprojects; however several barriers to the effectiveness of social networks were highlighted bythe garden participants and coordinators during the interview process. These will be raised inthe discussion below with particular emphasis on time constraints, the location of the gardenwithin the school or neighbourhood, and the simplification of the relationship betweenhumanity and the environment (the culture-nature dichotomy) being issues that werefrequently raised, all of which were reported to impact on garden participation.Grant fundingA major finding of this study is that where gardens were established solely as a result of grantfunding, issues concerning community ownership and consequently participation were raisedas concerns by coordinators and participants alike. Further, the amount of money spent onestablishing the gardens, through grant funding and other means, wasn’t shown to be adeterminant for the success of OGPs. This research projects shows that funding as amotivator for garden establishment can have negative impacts on the long-term viability ofOGPs. While Gardens 2S and 8N are managed by the people who use them, the minimalcommunity involvement in the garden establishment (stemming from a successful grantapplication) has affected their use. This finding is at odds with Francis’ (1989) argument thatorganised garden projects are “designed, built or managed by the people who use them”(p54). Residents need to be involved in the design and construction of gardens, not just themanagement. It should, be noted, however, that efforts are being made by coordinators andparticipants in these gardens to increase community involvement.It is unknown if a trend to rely on grant funding for OGP establishment is peculiar toTasmanian gardens, but such a reliance can create a short-term garden focus which, when thefunding runs out, can leave the garden in a precarious situation. Additionally, as many grant 54
    • rounds are subject to the health of the budgets providing them, they are an unreliable sourceof support.The study therefore suggests that further research and policy development surrounding theestablishment of OGPs should focus on developing a sustainable model for gardens thatavoids a reliance on grant funds. A major finding from the interviews was that gardenparticipants independently suggested the creation of a paid “garden networker” whose role itwould be to work with OGP participants to create and sustain networks with other gardensand organisations and to provide gardening advice and maintenance in the gardens. Whilethis idea introduces other considerations such as the source of funding and its impact on anessentially volunteer system of organisation, it should be noted that both the Hobart andGlenorchy councils have community development officers who, along with other duties,work with residents to establish OGPs. It may be that these roles and the support that councilsprovide needs to be better communicated to residents, or these roles could be extended as partof a garden networker framework.Garden location and links to sociabilityOne value of this research project lies in its demonstration of garden location as a majorinfluence on levels of garden participation and sociability. As White (2002) argues that thequality of social connections is significant for outcomes for individuals, it is thereforenecessary to consider how garden location can facilitate sociability and lead to establishmentand maintenance of dense social networks.Garden location was shown to be critical to creating a setting favourable to the formation ofnew networks. Where gardens are located in close proximity to other potential “third places”,sociability is boosted (see Appendices 5 and 7) (Oldenburg 1999). In particular, wheregardens are located in heavily pedestrianised areas new relationships among gardeners andpassers-by are encouraged.A further finding is that many gardens successfully act as places for non-gardening activitieswhere garden members and local residents can interact in an informal setting. Through theseevents, garden members are able to casually socialise with each other and otherneighbourhood members and these events are also used as mechanisms to recruit newmembers to the garden (and potentially establish valuable networks). These findings therefore 55
    • support Glover et al’s argument (2005a) that OGPs provide a setting conducive to theformation of new relationships and the hypothesis put forward by Teig et al (2009) that socialconnections can be cultivated between gardeners and other residents in the OGP setting.In contrast, in Garden 8N, site selection was raised as a barrier to sociability, as was the lackof signage. Similarly in the school gardens, where school gardens are out of sight of theclassrooms, participation in the garden is diminished.The findings suggest that further research should focus on the location of OGPs and the linksto sociability, particularly in relation to suitably pedestrianised and accessible locations.Further investigations could also focus on potential deterrents to non-gardening events,including issues relating to public liability and a lack of facilities for participants.Social interaction as a motivator for garden participationAs noted above, the gardens provide a setting in which new friendships could be formed(Glover et al 2005a) but the findings indicate that this only occurs as a result of a clearintention and investment of time and energy from garden participants . For some participantswho were new to their neighbourhood or didn’t have many existing local friendships, theformation of new friendships were emphasised as significant outcomes.Similarly, where interaction with other participants is limited (and thus the potential for newfriendships), it was found that this was also by choice, particularly in the case of Garden 6N,which is intentionally exclusive. While many new friendships had been formed andacquaintances made in the garden setting, in some instances, the garden participants had notmade new friends or even acquaintances. This was shown to be unrelated to the gardenenvironment, but instead because the participants do not wish to interact with others.Putnam’s (1995) use of participation in voluntary associations as a measurement of socialcapital is questioned here, as this study shows that garden participants can be involved in thegarden project but have limited interaction with other participants. Thus, there is the potentialfor social capital to be produced, if the participants so choose, but it cannot be assumed thatparticipation in voluntary associations, such as OGPs, will necessarily lead to theseoutcomes. 56
    • It should be noted that White’s argument that network density can facilitate “collective actionand cooperative behaviour” is supported by the findings of this study (2002, p261). Qualityrelationships, through networks of garden participants, were significant in the neighbourhoodand school gardens where a dedicated group of residents or parents worked together to seethe garden established. The fact that many of these individuals knew each other before thegarden was established is not relevant here, as it highlights the need for quality relationshipsto achieve outcomes for OGPs. This also supports Glover et al’s theory that OGPs are theresult of a “collective venture” (2005b, p454).Trust and reciprocityThis study aimed to identify evidence of trust amongst garden participants as one of theindicators of social capital. However, the findings indicate that the use of trust to measuresocial capital is questionable (Glover et al 2005b; Teig et al 2009). Where participants, forexample, were asked if garden involvement had improved their levels of trust in others, someresponded that it hadn’t because the garden wasn’t a large part of their lives, not because ofparticular garden experiences.Additionally, the formation of new friendships formed through garden participation showsthat individuals are trusting but fails to clarify whether this is because the participants werealready trusting individuals (Uslaner’s “generalised trusters” 2005), or if trust is the result ofgarden involvement. Nevertheless, the fact that new friendships had been established andmaintained through the garden experience indicates that trust was found to be present in theorganised garden projects, although the use of trust signifying the presence of social capital istenuous in this context.Similarly, some participants commented that the friendships they had made in the gardenstayed within the garden boundaries, even where they had indicated they were generallytrusting of others. This was commonly because they want to keep the garden as a separatepart of their lives or because time constraints dictate this. These findings run contrary toGlover et al’s (2005b) use of friendships existing outside the garden setting as a precursor oftrust, suggesting that the indicators of trust to measure social capital need furtherconsideration. 57
    • Further, despite some participants saying they exercised caution when dealing with newpeople, based on previous negative experiences, none of the respondents reported distrustingother garden participants. Generally, the participants’ interaction with other gardeners hadbeen friendly, indicating the “net value” of social capital, as identified by Fukuyama (2001),in the OGP context is generally positive.The results of this study indicate that reciprocity is present in the garden setting and that, ingeneral, participants are willing to share gardening advice and garden resources. In schools,this is evidenced by the number of parents (as strong social ties) providing regular help in thegarden and in neighbourhood gardens with communal beds and fruit trees where produce isshared. These findings support King’s argument that reciprocity can be found through theexpectation of returned favours. However, the findings did not back up the argument putforward by Teig et al (2009) that garden participants could turn to each other for emotionalsupport and advice. This may be because garden participants are able to seek such advice inother settings or through other networks.Barriers to reciprocity were highlighted through the interviews. A particular theme was thatWestern individualism is impacting on the ability of people to work together for commonaims, in this case in the garden setting. This proposition requires more attention particularlyin the context of sustainability and LA21 goals, both of which emphasise communityinvolvement and cooperation.Decision-making and the division of roles and responsibilitiesLevels of reciprocity are also connected with the division of labour in the garden setting. Amajor finding of this study is that decision-making is highly fragmented in the OGPs of thisstudy (White 2002). This is contrary to the argument advanced by Glover et al (2005a) whoclaim that OGPs, as grassroots initiatives, are less hierarchical. However, the reason for thisuneven distribution of power is more complex than individuals seeking power, as suggestedby Bourdieu (1986).The school gardens in this study exist in a hierarchical system and decisions regarding thegarden are therefore made from the top-down, by the coordinating teacher and/or principal. Itcould be argued that these school gardens don’t hold true to the spirit of “communitygardening” due to this rigid decision-making structure. That said, it is likely that students (as 58
    • garden participants) may get a say in what they get to grow and how to the produce is used,and consequently have some input into decision-making processes.The findings indicate that none of the structures in place in neighbourhood gardens areconducive to widespread democratic decision-making or to an adequate distribution of rolesand responsibilities. Decision-making processes in neighbourhood gardens with relaxedstructures (Gardens, 5N, 6N and 7N) are democratic in the sense that the garden participantswho choose to put in the time and energy to be involved in the decision-making process arethe ones who ultimately influence these decisions. Further, it was found that the waysdecisions are made in these gardens has the potential to impact on their continuation. InGarden 4N, for example, where decisions about the garden are made solely by thecoordinator, it was highlighted as negatively impacting on the garden’s future direction, asgarden participants weren’t willing to be involved.The findings of this study strongly indicate that many garden participants are unable and insome instances unwilling to take on roles within the garden setting. This is to be expectedconsidering the nature of organised garden projects as volunteer activities, which manyparticipants regard as a hobby. However, it should be further explored whether this reluctancehas connections to levels of reciprocity in the gardens. As stated, participants indicated thedifficulty involved in getting garden participants to work together and that individualism maybe a cause.Generally, the distribution of roles and responsibilities were raised as a major concern for theongoing viability of the garden, as it was considered that too few people were doing too muchof the work, and that this was not by choice. Time constraints were also highlighted as abarrier to both changing the way decisions are made and as a barrier to making decisions inthe first place.The findings of the study therefore support the argument put forward by Bourdieu (1986) thatsocial capital can be unevenly distributed, through the access to decision-making. However,in the gardens in this study, it is indicated that the uneven distribution of power isunintentional. That is, opportunities for democratic participation exist, but participants maychoose not to be involved in them, rather than there being a denial of access to theseopportunities. Where closed networks have developed and power has therefore been 59
    • concentrated (White 2002), it could be interpreted that this has been the result of gardenparticipants finding it difficult to find other gardeners willing to share roles andresponsibilities, rather than a desire to have control of the garden.These findings also provide a mixed result in response to the claim of Glover et al (2005a)about the promotion of democracy in the organised garden setting. While it is clear thatdemocratic processes can be promoted in these gardens, this study suggests that this canoccur for those who choose to participate in the democratic process.Connections with other OGPs and other organisationsThe hypothesis that networks between OGPs can result in positive social outcomes,particularly for less advantaged parts of the community, is tested by the results of the findingwhich indicate that the gardens within the case study area are not heavily networked witheach other. This is despite garden participants highlighting the benefits of such connectionsand a desire to be better linked to other garden projects.Indeed, only one OGP has a formal connection with other gardens and the gains from thisnetwork are yet to be determined. Garden 2S, in the less advantaged Area B, is connectedwith other garden projects in the case study area, through its recent involvement with theGlenorchy Family Food Alliance (GFFA). It is anticipated that through projects such as theGFFA and Feeding the Future, further networks between OGPs exist or are being establishedin the case study area. However, it is significant that only one of the OGPs in this study hasthese connections with other gardens.Most gardens are connected, if only loosely, to other organisations (i.e. disability groups thatwere garden members). The findings indicate that where gardens were heavily networkedwith other organisations, this was a direct result of efforts from participants to maintain andestablish these connections.The most heavily networked garden is Garden 7N (see Appendix 7) which has regularvisitors from a variety of community organisations, including many that deal with lessadvantaged sections of the population. That this garden is so heavily embedded in itsneighbourhood is an intentional result of the participants’ desire to have the garden as anaccessible public space, which could be considered to be intentional “bridging” social capital. 60
    • While many of the networks don’t provide tangible outcomes for the garden, use of thegarden by community members illustrates how the garden is giving back to the community,and how social outcomes are being achieved for disadvantaged parts of the community. Thisgarden represents an encouraging example of the outcomes that OGPs can provide in theircommunity, particularly for less advantaged parts of the population.Where gardens aren’t widely connected, this was sometimes intentional, as in the case ofGarden 6N, which has an exclusive garden network facilitating “bonding”, but not bridging,social capital (Glover et al 2005b; Kingsley and Townsend 2006). In other less-networkedgardens, some efforts were being made to establish connections to ensure the garden’s futureand to boost participation.As indicated in Chapter 5, the school gardens utilise their institutional networks as well aslocal school relationships to fulfil their garden goals. Two schools are linked to an educationfor sustainability initiative and it is anticipated this association provides some indirect supportto the relevant teachers and gardens.The findings also indicate that support from a network of organisations is significant in theestablishment phase of gardens and that, for garden projects to continue, these connectionsneed to be maintained. This supports the arguments put forward by Bourdieu (1986) andColeman (1990) that social networks require an investment of time and energy.Indeed, many coordinators and participants interviewed acknowledged the benefits of beingbetter connected with other gardens and organisations. However, time constraints wereperceived to be a major impediment to the establishment and maintenance of theseconnections, particularly in gardens without a formal coordinating role.Most of the gardens have connections to other organisations, particularly with their localcouncil and many had been involved in grant application processes. The findings thereforesupport the argument put forward by Glover et al (2005a) that OGP participation provides anopportunity for residents to engage with government and public institutions.Projects such as the GFFA and FTF have the potential to provide many of the necessarylinkages between OGPs and less advantaged parts of the population, and thus potentially 61
    • facilitating positive social capital outcomes. At the time of interviewing these projects werestill in their infancy so their significance cannot be assessed. It will be very important toassess these models in the future to determine the value of networks between gardens, how toengage less advantaged parts of the population in organised garden projects throughmechanisms such as neighbourhood houses and other community organisations, and thepotential links to tackling social and economic disadvantage.Strong and weak tiesHow gardens are able to utilise their strong and weak ties to achieve garden aims, whichWhite (2002) describes as “network reachability” was another focus of this study.The findings indicate that strong ties were particularly significant for school gardens thatoften rely on the parents of the students for garden establishment and maintenance. In Garden2S, one parent kept the garden going for several months, highlighting the importance of onestrong tie. In the majority of the neighbourhood gardens strong ties in the form of a networkof garden participants keep the garden going often without a garden coordinator, butfrequently in combination with the resources available through community associations. Thefindings from the interviews support the argument put forward by Glover et al (2005b) thatemphasises strong ties in OGPs.Weak ties were apparent in school gardens, particularly during establishment when goodswere donated from local businesses etc. However, as was noted at one school, many schoolsin the area were all using their weak social ties to request donations from the same localbusiness. Weak ties were found to be important in the neighbourhood gardens, where theywere more significant than strong ties in achieving collective outcomes for the garden andpersonal outcomes for the participants. These findings support Granovetter’s (1973) theorythat weak social ties have a greater reach in creating opportunities and achieving results. Inmost gardens, participants and coordinators were able to utilise weak social ties to obtaingoods and labour to set up the garden.These findings therefore support Glover et al’s (2005b) argument that OGPs rely on socialconnections to achieve greater garden aims. However, garden participants reported issueswith exploiting their weak ties to achieve garden aims, indicating the complexities in the useof social ties. Participants had made, for example, attempts to recruit new members and 62
    • access resources, but had not necessarily been successful in doing so. This suggests that evenwhere strong and weak ties are present, garden coordinators and participants aren’t alwaysable to capitalise on them. This dilemma is highlighted in Tasmania’s Social InclusionStrategy where, in defining the inherent difficulties of OGPs, Adams states that gardennetworks may not have the “capability and mix of resources” to keep gardens going (2009,p24-25). This is particularly significant for gardens in disadvantaged areas that may havelimited resources to achieve garden aims.Economic outcomesThe economic outcomes from OGP participation were emphasised by some participants, butwere of negligible significance for others.Where residents from less advantaged areas participated in OGPs the economic outcomeswere emphasised, particularly paid employment, access to training and food productionwhich had reduced living costs. Where garden participants reported no economic gain fromgarden participation, this suggests either the need to grow produce to reduce cost of livingexpenses is not present or that it was not an aim of the participants’ involvement in thegarden. It was commented by interviewees that future economic crises may provide anincentive for the broader community to become involved in growing their own food and inOGPs, as it was stated that there is not the level of economic need at present.While every garden has economic potential, as identified by Kearney (2009) and Hancock(2001), this was not emphasised by any of the participants or coordinators as goals of theproject. Garden 7N has the most significant economic outcome for the garden overall,through the sale of produce, but this was not identified as a stated aim of the garden process.EducationEducation about sustainability and gardening processes were inconsistently apparent acrossthe gardens of the case study area. In the school gardens, the level of sustainability educationwas found to be highly dependent on the garden’s integration into the school curriculum andthe level of commitment from the school community, particularly teachers. In theneighbourhood gardens, the evidence provided indicate that a lack of education available, orat least awareness, about gardening and the hard work involved in growing produce mayimpact on garden participation. 63
    • School education was highlighted as a solution to overcoming the issue of nature-culturedualism. It was suggested that this shift in thinking is necessary for improving communityparticipation in OGPs. This is particularly relevant when considering the aims ofsustainability, which inherently require the integration of economic, ecological and socialperspectives and recognition that each perspective is interrelated. While this is not is easily orquickly remedied, the presence of OGPs in schools provides an example of how gardeningand self-sufficiency practices can become more ingrained in society and can facilitate thenecessary philosophical shift. Although as the findings indicate, this has to be matched by aeconomic and philosophical investment by the school and the school community, which isn’teasy in the context of competing financial and curricular priorities.In the broader community, it is difficult to identify the best strategy to engage communities,particularly those of lesser advantage, in OGPs if they are cognitively disconnected from the“environment”. This concern was raised several times during the interview process andrequires further investigation in the context of tackling issues of social and economicdisadvantage.Garden accessibilityAccess to any institution can be restricted at many levels and in the case of OGPs severalbarriers to garden participation were highlighted. The findings indicate that physical access,the exclusive nature of some gardens and a lack of awareness of the benefits of gardeninvolvement are potential barriers to garden involvement. This is particularly significant inthe context of addressing social and economic disadvantage and building communitycapacity, as residents first need access to the gardens to benefit from participation.At a basic physical level, concerns such as steepness, narrow beds, limited seating and theneed for fencing were highlighted across the interviews. Barriers to garden membership wereraised several times, including a lack of information about how to become a garden memberand a low turnover of beds due to members losing interest but not advising the coordinator. Alack of beds for individual use was also seen as a possible deterrent to participation. It shouldbe noted that in some gardens efforts are being made to overcome these issues. 64
    • In Garden 6N, it was highlighted by residents that the garden is exclusive and doesn’t cater tothe whole neighbourhood. As mentioned, the garden only has communal plots which couldact as a deterrent for new members, but the participants do not actively seek new members tothe garden. It was raised by one participant that the international students who live nearby,for example, are not included in the garden network. This particular part of the population hasbeen emphasised as being at risk of disadvantage by the Hobart City Council (2010).The lack of demographic spread of many of the gardens and their failure to address issues ofsocial and economic disadvantage could indicate that OGPs are being taken up by those frommore advantaged parts of the community, those who already have the capacity and social andeconomic resources to get by.It may be that the benefits of OGP participation to overcoming disadvantage have not beenemphasised in the areas of need. Concern was strongly emphasised in the findings that thegarden projects weren’t reaching out to parts of the community who needed it the most. Thiswas highlighted in relation to Garden 8N which is located in an area of lesser advantage andhas experienced a low uptake of garden beds from the neighbourhood. It may be that parts ofthe community that are more aware about sustainability and nutrition are participating ingarden projects elsewhere, whereas less advantaged parts of the community either aren’taware of the benefits of this involvement, or don’t have the time support, or inclination forthis to occur.The issue therefore relates to communicating the benefits of the garden within theneighbourhood. Both the coordinator and Ian (the community engagement officer)emphasised the shift in thinking required, particularly in these areas, to encourage residents tobecome garden participants and to understand the potential benefits. Measures to attract at-risk parts of the community to garden participation should be considered in the wider policycontext for how the projects are supported by government and organisations.However, the intangible social outcomes for individuals who are connected with OGPs wereshown to be significant in this study. Where the gardens connect with the parts of thecommunity identified in Chapter 3 as being at risk of social exclusion, such as people withdisability, older Tasmanians and single-parent households (as has occurred in Gardens 2S, 65
    • 3S, 4N, 7N and 8N), they have contributed to a sense of community and belonging and mayhave facilitated other worthwhile connections for these individuals.These findings suggest that, particularly in areas of lesser advantage, more needs to be doneto both support existing gardens and to encourage greater garden participation by localresidents in these networks. 66
    • Chapter 7 - ConclusionOrganised garden projects, as illustrations of sustainability in action (Holland 2004), need tobe responsive to the needs and wants of their communities. Many of the gardens in this studyhave achieved or are on the way to achieving their stated intentions (be they economic,ecological or social, or a combination) although all gardens are facing challenges. While theaims of these gardens may never be fully realised, that is in many ways irrelevant. Wheregardens may cease to exist in the future, this shouldn’t be seen as a failure on the part ofcoordinators or participants, but rather a reflection of what the neighbourhood needs andwants.The interviews from coordinators and participants of organised garden projects in the casestudy area provide a snapshot, but not the whole picture, of these grassroots initiatives andtheir potential for strengthening community connections and providing relief to social andeconomic disadvantage. This study has shown that the networks created through participationin OGPs can provide solutions to social and economic disadvantage, although the potential ofthis participation has not yet been fully realised in the case study area. Future directions forresearch in this area should focus on how disadvantaged communities can be engaged andsupported in their participation in OGPs and the role that education and communityengagement has to play in this.As discussed, social capital is more than just the presence of networks, relationships andconnections between people. At the heart of social capital is the transactional exchange whichresults in benefits, actions and/or outcomes for the individuals and groups involved. In all ofthe OGPs, social capital was identified in the form of social connections and relationships tofacilitate action and to achieve garden outcomes. The quality, reach and distribution of theserelationships (White 2002) rather than their mere existence was significant to achieving thesegoals. The findings of the study therefore support Bourdieu’s (1986) argument that existenceof a network of connections is not a natural or social given and Coleman’s (1990) case thatsocial capital, not just networks, is created when relations among persons change in ways thatfacilitate action.Further, where social networks in OGPs have best facilitated outcomes for individuals andcommunities, the garden setting acted as a third place between the public and private spheresand provided a location for individuals to feel included, to form new relationships, to 67
    • contribute to their local area and to establish connections (Oldenburg 1999). Following onfrom White (2002), how garden participants, as individuals embedded in social structures,can best access resources and invest in social relationships to achieve outcomes given theirlevel of commitment in the garden projects in significant. It must also be considered howgroups can best mobilise social capital to achieve a shared vision for their gardens.Organised garden projects were originally established in the late nineteenth century throughgovernment incentives to ameliorate economic downturns in the community. Many gardensare now being established in response to ecological concerns at a grassroots level. As thestudy indicates, OGPs have much potential for tackling social and economic disadvantage,both through providing beneficial economic outcomes and social connections for those whomay be socially isolated, or who need greater opportunities in their lives. Due to thisrecognised potential, is it again time for greater government interest and investment in theseprojects, or does more need to be done to educate the public about the benefits of gardenproject involvement and let the gardens evolve from the ground up? 68
    • AppendicesAppendix 1: Sociogram of Garden 1S with identified social networks 69
    • Appendix 2: Sociogram of Garden 2S with identified social networks 70
    • Appendix 3: Sociogram of Garden 3S with identified social networks 71
    • Appendix 4: Sociogram of Garden 4N with identified social networks 72
    • Appendix 5: Sociogram of Garden 5N with identified social networks 73
    • Appendix 6: Sociogram of Garden 6N with identified social networks 74
    • Appendix 7: Sociogram of Garden 7N with identified social networks 75
    • Appendix 8: Sociogram of Garden 8N with identified social networks 76
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